Oxford Optronix develops oxygen monitor in just five days

Written by: Paul Fanning | Published:

​Oxford Optronix, the leading provider of advanced research instrumentation for the clinical medicine and life science industries, has responded to an emergency call by the NHS for continuous Positive Airway Pressure (cPAP) medical devices and accompanying bedside continuous oxygen concentration monitors.

The Oxford Optronix team has succeeded in developing a bedside oxygen monitor that continuously measures the concentration of oxygen being delivered to patients via cPAP – completing the prototype in just five days.

cPAP devices provide vital respiratory support by applying mild and continuous positive air (and oxygen) pressure to keep the airways open in patients who are able to breathe spontaneously, thereby helping them breathe and take up oxygen more easily. Crucially, cPAP is an alternative to mechanical ventilation in the majority of patients, thereby reducing demand for intensive care beds and allowing ventilators to be reserved for the most critically ill patients.

A cPAP breathing device (Ventura) and accompanying oxygen monitor (Flo-Ox™) has been developed in a matter of days by a remarkable collaboration between industry, universities and the NHS, namely Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP), UCL, UCLH and Oxford Optronix. Oxford Optronix has developed Flo-Ox™– a bedside monitoring system that continuously measures the oxygen concentration being delivered to the patient. Crucially, the system has built-in alarms to ensure that oxygen is delivered within set limits.

Commenting on the landmark development, Dr Andy Obeid, chief executive of Oxford Optronix said: “On Saturday 21st March, I received an urgent call from Professor Mervyn Singer of UCL explaining to me the vital importance of cPAP in supporting COVID-19 patients with breathing difficulties, especially in those cases where conventional ventilation isn’t justified or potentially injurious to the patient. Minutes later, I was being quizzed on how to design, develop and manufacture a monitor to continuously measure the concentration of oxygen being delivered to the patient via cPAP. I soon realised that Mervyn was rather politely asking me to do something in five days that would normally take two years! Well, we did it. Working flat out and by mobilising the support of every individual in my company as well as other small companies across the U.K., I’m delighted to report that our team has been able to deliver our first batch of prototype oxygen monitors for patient trials commencing this week. Volume production will begin next week – in time for the expected peak of severe COVID-19 cases in the UK.”

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