Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) and Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing (Metabolic Testing or CPET) have been avaluable source of diagnosis and assessment of respiratory conditions for years. COVID-19 put a strain on theability for labs to be operational and now, as testing has picked up, labs have adopted varying procedures forkeeping patients safe. As you develop solutions to aid in the safe operation of PFT and CPET equipment, we wouldlike to offer insights to support you. Below, you can review five things to consider as you refine your PFT deviceoffering.
EXPLORING CHANGES IN MOISTURE CONTROL
How will added moisture control affect our test results?
Without sufficient moisture control, condensation in the sampling line becomes an issue, slowing readings andaffecting results.
The same concept applies to Metabolic Testing. With every exhaled breath, water vapor is being pushedto the sampling line. Nafion™ Tubing removes the vapor, enabling proper measurement andreducing theopportunities for moisture to damage the critical device.
How will added moisture control affect our test results?
Without sufficient moisture control, you risk build-up of condensation. For the engineer, this could mean inefficiencies in measurements or costly damage to the device. For the clinicians, this couldmean incorrect or slow measurements, downtime for device repair, and potentially retestingthe patient. The effects are costly and delay patient results and diagnosis.
The reason respiratory engineers turn to Perma Pure is to mitigate risks of moisture issues with a customizedNafion™ Tubing solution. Nafion™ Tubing can be connected to your chosen sampling line or we can support yourteam in designing and manufacturing a unique sampling line for your device.
The savings in cost and time to you, the technician using your device, and the patient in need of a diagnosis or assessment, makes Nafion™ Tubing a solid choice for moisture control.
What could affect drying performance in my Nafion™ Tubing?
Dehumidification performance can be diminished by a variety of factors. Given that PFT and CPET are performedunder a variety of conditions we can only share what we have learned.
Since Nafion™ Tubing is used with PFT and CPET testing equipment, in environments where heavybreathing is needed, technicians may want to disinfect equipment in between patients. Our ME Dryers, made from Nafion™ Tubing, are intended for single-patient use. When our solutions come into contact with substances like NaCl or Alconox, drying efficiency decreases significantly. When Nafion™ Tubing was exposedto bleach and H2O2, the Drying Efficiency shrunk to approximately 33% and 63%, respectively. Thediminished dehumidification performance can be costly to labs and make the technician’sjob harder, so supporting you in exploring ways to avoid reduced performance is important to us.
We are performing substances tests to increase our understanding of how varying substances affect theperformance of our dryers. These insights will allow for more guidance around maintaining optimal dryingperformance.
Maintaining Target Moisture Control
How can I reduce risk of changes to drying performance?
Managing conditions in labs is difficult. As conditions and present substances will vary, especially as your customerbase grows, the versatility of your solution will be more and more important. Here are our initial thoughts on howyou can reduce risk of changes in drying efficiency as you look for more ways to make your patients feel safe.
First, keeping harsh substances away from your dryers. You want to avoid using substances that could causeocclusion or changes to the performance of the Nafion™ Tubing membrane. As our ME Dryers are intended for single-patient use and lab conditions may vary, we cannot recommend any cleaning protocols. With a global customer base, labs will aim to adopt practices that make their patients feel safe and protect each element of their device. Conducting independent testing based on your customer’s procedures will ensure results remain accurate and time between appointments is optimized.
Second, using a protective barrier for the full sampling line. As Nafion™ Tubing needs a steady flow of ambientair for successful drying, this option could bring unexpected challenges after heavy use in a lab.
Lab protocols in between patients may not be as stringent, depending on material used for the barrier. TheNafion™ Tubing would be protected consistently.
Third, (and we explore this option more below)offering a single-patient use option. Such a solution keeps dryingperformance at any optimal level and brings clinician requirements down to training on replacement.
What benefits can come from single-patient use components?
COVID-19 has sparked a greater fear of infection and cross-contamination. Patients fear coming for a lung function test could mean exposure to COVID-19. Managing the changing standards and making PFT and CPET patients feel safe can be challenging. Disposable components, used for asingle patient, remove fear of cross-contamination, and do not require cleaning, reducingdowntime between patients. Single-patient use options also remove the need fortechnicians to track how many times a component has been used, enabling greatercompliance with replacement schedules. The peace of
mind and the time savings alone may make it a valuable change for PFT and CPET labs and their patients.
Cost can be a barrier to shifting from existing assemblies to disposable assemblies. At Perma Pure, wecan support you in building a single-patient use assembly that achieves your targetperformance at a price that is manageable for the labs. You may require specific materials in yoursampling lines. Our experience in custom manufacturing for respiratory OEMs has allowed us to buildstrong relationships with the right suppliers. We understand that disposable solutions need to be easyfor technicians to replace and therefore, need to seamlessly integrate with your device. Our engineerscan collaborate with your team and identify optimal methods to connect new assemblies. Asstandards change across global markets, shifting to disposable options now could be an interestingway of staying ahead of new regulations. Our regulatory team will be available to ensure assemblies fit within standards.