A device that can detect respiratory irregularities in newborn babies at an early stage is currently in development, with plans to be on the market in a year. The Pneumedicare device, which was developed by students at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, can detect such problems as accumulation of air between the lungs and chest cavity walls and partial blockage of the air passages. By detecting these problems early, the device reduces the risk of complications, long-term damage to vital organs, and irreversible brain damage.
In the United States alone, more than 240,000 babies are placed on respirators each year. The cost of ICU care for premature babies is estimated at more than $15 billion a year. Despite the need, existing equipment does not monitor respiratory problems or chest cavity mechanics of infants in ICUs.