Around 30-60% of the patients admitted to the Intensive Care receive mechanical ventilation. Although it is a lifesaving therapy, mechanical ventilation can also lead to injury to the respiratory muscles and the lungs. Mechanical ventilation can cause weakening of the diaphragm, the most important muscle during inspiration, because the patient does not utilize the diaphragm sufficiently. Consequently, a great number of patients experience problems breathing spontaneously after being mechanically ventilated for a long period of time. These complications emphasize the need to accurately and continuously monitor the function of the diaphragm and the lungs during Intensive Care admission.
Current techniques usually measure outside the body. However, it is necessary to assess what the patient is doing (breathing effort) and what the patient needs (support), to prevent unnecessary damage to the lungs and the respiratory muscles. The catheter developed by PulmoTech, an innovative small tube with special sensors, is inserted via the nose or mouth into the esophagus, allowing the possibility to accurately measure the function of the respiratory muscles and the lungs inside the body. This enables additional diagnostic possibilities, individualizing mechanical ventilation, to ensure patients can breath spontaneously as soon as possible.