Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a sampling device to diagnose pneumonia. Called PneumoniaCheck, the device will be commercially launched this month to health care professionals through a startup company, MD Innovate Inc.

The device detects the lung pathogens causing pneumonia, according to David Ku, professor of mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech and professor of surgery at Emory University.

Current sampling methods using the mouth and nose are only 40% effective. The samples are typically contaminated by bacteria in the mouth, which leads to misdiagnosis and an incorrect prescription of antibiotics.

PneumoniaCheck contains a plastic tube with a mouthpiece. A patient coughs into the device to fill up a balloon-like upper airway reservoir before the lung aerosols go into a filter. Using fluid mechanics, PneumoniaCheck separates the upper airway particles of the mouth from the lower airway particles coming from the lungs.

The Food and Drug Administration has cleared PneumoniaCheck for sale in the United States. The device is licensed but its patent is pending.

Source: Georgia Institute of Technology