Placed on – 3 December 2019

Breath analysis to diagnose respiratory diseases earlier

Breath analysis to diagnose respiratory diseases earlier

Evalan has contributed to a new development in the field of IoT in healthcare, namely the analysis of exhaled air to diagnose respiratory diseases. The product of Breathomix, the SpiroNose, aims to diagnose lung diseases, such as asthma, COPD and lung cancer, but also other diseases, and to have them treated more specifically. For this innovation, we developed the sensor system and the device that collects and transmits the measurement data.

Rianne de Vries, PhD student at the Amsterdam UMC and also Chief Operating Officer at Breathomix, has carried out a large-scale study together with a team of other researchers in which the SpiroNose was tested in several Dutch hospitals and GP practices. Rianne developed the analysis methods that can be used to identify illnesses from measurement data from exhaled air. During this research, a prototype of the system was used to show whether a certain concept could be used by doctors. It turned out to be successful and the Breathomix company was founded to bring the concept to healthcare practice. Breathomix needed an IoT expert who could improve the SpiroNose and prepare it for large-scale rollout. In collaboration with Breathomix, Evalan developed a production version of the system. Evalan was responsible for all physical parts of the SpiroNose: the sensor system and a secure data gateway. The cloud solution, the databases and the portal for doctors were developed by Tecknoworks.

Breath analysis to diagnose respiratory diseases earlier

How does the SpiroNose work?
Breath analyzes are performed with the SpiroNose that can lead to faster diagnoses. The sensors in the SpiroNose measure the complete mix of VOCs (volatile organic components) in the exhaled air. The sensor values ​​are then analyzed and corrected for the ambient air. In this way an individual breathing profile is created for each patient. Breathing profiles of new patients can be compared with an existing database filled with breathing profiles and clinical data of thousands of patients with a known diagnosis. By comparing the breathing profiles of new patients with this online reference database, it is possible to accurately determine which diagnosis is most likely. The SpiroNose measures both the exhaled air and the ambient air and sends the measurement data via a gateway to the BreathBase platform. There, the measurement data is analyzed, corrected and then compared with the reference values. With the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques, advice is ultimately given about the most likely diagnosis.

The development of the SpiroNose
The new SpiroNose is fully integrated into Microsoft’s Azure Cloud, and uses specific functions such as IoT Hub, Device Twins, Cosmos and SQL db and Artificial Intelligence modules. During the development, the design has also been improved, and the hardware has been made suitable for deployment within healthcare practice.

The purpose and the following steps
The first specimens of the newest generation of SpiroNoses have now been produced and delivered to hospitals. These are currently still being used for scientific research. The ultimate goal is for this form of breath analysis to become a standard medical measurement, not only in hospitals but also at the doctor’s general practice.

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