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August 26, 2009

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

City doctors make asthma breakthrough

MEDICAL experts in a Shanghai hospital have invented a digitalized and portable lung-function testing machine.

The device allows patients with asthma and other respiratory ailments to have regular self-checks at home and receive directions from doctors, who receive data via digital signals.

Zhongshan Hospital has received a patent on the machine, expected to be available for home patients within months, experts said yesterday.

The machine is the size of a cell phone and measures how much air a person can breathe out of the lungs and how fast he or she can do it.

"Such tests can monitor and detect people's breathing problems, how well treatments are working and whether a condition is getting worse," said Dr Bai Chunxue, director of Zhongshan Hospital's respiratory disease department.

"In order to give frequent monitoring and provide timely intervention for patients, we invented this machine, which sends data to our headquarters at the hospital."

The machine is extremely effective for asthmatics, who make up 3 percent of the city's population.

"Many people's worsening asthma and even death can be attributed to poor disease management and low awareness," Bai said.

"The machine can report any abnormal signals from the patient in time for doctors' intervention."

The mortality of asthma is 2.8 in every 100,000 people in the United States.

China has no central data bank recording asthma deaths established yet but the national figure is believed to be higher than that of the US.


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