Enhanced photoacoustic gas analyser response time and impact on accuracy at fast ventilation rates during multiple breath washout

PLoS One. 2014 Jun 3;9(6):e98487. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098487. eCollection 2014.


Background: The Innocor device contains a highly sensitive photoacoustic gas analyser that has been used to perform multiple breath washout (MBW) measurements using very low concentrations of the tracer gas SF6. Use in smaller subjects has been restricted by the requirement for a gas analyser response time of <100 ms, in order to ensure accurate estimation of lung volumes at rapid ventilation rates.

Methods: A series of previously reported and novel enhancements were made to the gas analyser to produce a clinically practical system with a reduced response time. An enhanced lung model system, capable of delivering highly accurate ventilation rates and volumes, was used to assess in vitro accuracy of functional residual capacity (FRC) volume calculation and the effects of flow and gas signal alignment on this.

Results: 10-90% rise time was reduced from 154 to 88 ms. In an adult/child lung model, accuracy of volume calculation was -0.9 to 2.9% for all measurements, including those with ventilation rate of 30/min and FRC of 0.5 L; for the un-enhanced system, accuracy deteriorated at higher ventilation rates and smaller FRC. In a separate smaller lung model (ventilation rate 60/min, FRC 250 ml, tidal volume 100 ml), mean accuracy of FRC measurement for the enhanced system was minus 0.95% (range -3.8 to 2.0%). Error sensitivity to flow and gas signal alignment was increased by ventilation rate, smaller FRC and slower analyser response time.

Conclusion: The Innocor analyser can be enhanced to reliably generate highly accurate FRC measurements down at volumes as low as those simulating infant lung settings. Signal alignment is a critical factor. With these enhancements, the Innocor analyser exceeds key technical component recommendations for MBW apparatus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Functional Residual Capacity / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Reaction Time / physiology