Research Papers

PneumoniaCheck: A Device for Sampling Lower Airway Aerosols

[+] Author and Article Information
Tamera L. Scholz

G.W.W. School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332tamera.scholz@me.gatech.edu

Prem A. Midha

G.W.W. School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332prem@gatech.edu

Larry J. Anderson

Division of Viral Diseases, NCIRD, CoCID, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA 30333lja2@cdc.gov

David N. Ku1

G.W.W. School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 315 Ferst Drive, Room 2307, Atlanta, GA 30332david.ku@me.gatech.edu


Corresponding author.

J. Med. Devices 4(4), 041005 (Nov 08, 2010) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002760 History: Received April 13, 2010; Revised July 15, 2010; Published November 08, 2010; Online November 08, 2010

The pathogens causing pneumonia are difficult to identify because a high quality specimen from the lower lung is difficult to obtain. A new specimen collection device is designed to collect aerosol specimens selectively from the lower lung generated during deep coughing. The PneumoniaCheck device utilizes a separation reservoir and Venturi valve to segregate contents from the upper and lower airways. The device also includes several specially designed features to exclude oral contaminants from the sample and a filter to collect the aerosolized pathogens. Verification testing of PneumoniaCheck demonstrates effective separation of upper airway gas from the lower airway gas (p<0.0001) and exclusion of both liquid and viscous oral material (p<0.0001) from the collection chamber. The filters can collect 99.9997% of virus and bacteria sized particles from the sampled lower lung aerosols. The selective collection of specimens from the lower airway may aid in the diagnosis of specific pathogens causing pneumonia.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

The PneumoniaCheck. (a) The patient coughs into the extended mouthpiece of the device. (b) As the air passes through the Venturi, (c) the negative pressure in the main tube causes the ball valve to close. (d) Thus, the first flow of air fills the reservoir. (e) Once the reservoir is full, the backpressure then forces the rest of the air to flow past the ball valve and through the filter.

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Figure 2

Placement of blood alcohol testers of EtOH testing. Tester 1 samples the upper airway gas and tester 2 samples the lower airway gas reflecting volatiles released by the blood in the alveolar space.

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Figure 3

Separation test results. Graph depicting differences in oxygen content in samples from the upper and lower compartments. The device is tested with and without the ball valve for gas separation. The differences in oxygen content between the reservoir and the collection chamber were statistically different to the p<0.0001 level, both with and without the ball. The difference in oxygen content in the lower airway chamber with and without the ball was also significant to the p<0.0001 level.

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Figure 4

Minimum flow test results. Graph depicting the volume of reservoir filled at different exhaling flow rates. The reservoir fills completely at a minimum flow rate of approximately 0.1 l s−1.




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