Breathe™ easy: Cambridge Consultants technology adds intelligence and automation to aspiration procedures


  • Date 27 Aug 2010
  • Sectors Technology, Life Sciences
  • Firm develops first ever digital device for collapsed lung aspiration, enhancing value of operation for doctors and hospitals and reducing the invasiveness of the procedure

Cambridge Consultants, a leading technology product design and development firm, today announced a novel process to automate the procedure of aspiration for Primary Spontaneous Pneumothorax (PSP), also known as a spontaneous collapsed lung. Representing the first digital device for aspiration of PSP, Breathe™ is an electro-mechanical device that enables volume measurement and control. By optimizing the pressure and flow rate of the aspiration process, the Breathe device enables doctors and nurses to provide more detailed analysis.

PSP consists of a tear or hole in the wall of the lung where gas first enters the chest cavity outside the lung and then becomes trapped. Mainly found in tall, thin, young men, PSP affects between 18 and 28 in every 100,000 men throughout the world. In general, large hospitals are faced with two to three such cases per week. Today’s caregivers have no system of reporting aspiration pressure and can easily impart excessive vacuum pressure to the chest through their syringe, sometimes resulting in failed procedures.

“The Breathe device, and the automatic aspiration process it enables, both address a glaring inefficiency in the Primary Spontaneous Pneumothorax treatment paradigm. By transforming a doctor from a syringe puller to an active process manager, Cambridge Consultants has made more intelligent the process of aspiration for PSP,” said Andrew Gow, Senior Engineer, Medical Technology at Cambridge Consultants. “Breathe is equivalent to aspirating with a syringe, but it gives doctors and nurses more control and data, while reducing the likelihood of human error.”

Automatic aspiration for PSP increases the dynamism of the treatment process and creates a host of beneficial outcomes. For one, the operator must engage with accurate, real-time data about the volume and pressure in the patient’s chest cavity. And in a regulatory environment where data is becoming ever more important, the device’s diagnostic capabilities provide useful statistics about the body’s environment and its reaction to aspiration. Meanwhile, doctors have a new tool in which they can make more educated decisions about their patients. Furthermore, since researchers have never had such data to work with, new and unforeseen conclusions about PSP may arise from the analysis of automatic aspiration intelligence.

“Not only does automation of the process using the proposed Breathe device have the potential to make it far easier to aspirate patients than the existing syringe manual method, it might also manage the process better by providing improved information to the physician,” said Dr. Stefan Marciniak, MRC Clinician Scientist & Honorary Consultants Physician. “Together, these two improvements may help us meet our patient care guidelines of faster and safer treatment.”

Aspiration is the process of removing fluid or gases from the body with a suction device, and the current procedure for collapsed lungs is a laborious manual activity. The default approach to treating major cases of PSP is thoracentesis or pleural drainage insertion, where one inserts a chest drain into the body. Typically, a doctor or nurse repeatedly pushes and pulls a syringe, manipulating a three-way valve attached to a cannula through the chest wall.

Cambridge Consultants is currently seeking commercial partners for Breathe. Continually at the forefront of medical technology design and development, Cambridge Consultants’ innovations have enabled clients to bring quality products to market at accelerated speeds. Recent Cambridge Consultants Medical Technologies innovations include the Syreen, a revolutionary ‘green’ syringe design, which is a highly effective, safe, and easy-to-use drug delivery device for self administration use, designed to ease the resource intensity and material wastage associated with traditional syringe development and manufacture. Cambridge Consultants also recently co-developed a new immunoassay platform with XenBio Fluidics. Based on time-resolved florescence (TRF) label, the platform helps enable low-cost, near patient diagnostics tests, enabling earlier diagnosis and the detection of a wider range of biomarkers.

Notes for editors:

Throughout 2010, Cambridge Consultants celebrates its 50th year in business.  Created by three Cambridge graduates in 1960, the company has grown into a leading technology business, renowned worldwide for its ability to solve technical problems and provide innovative, practical solutions to commercial issues.  In 2009, the company was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.  For more information visit:

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