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Horizon 2020 CRADL project ‘could prevent many infant deaths’

Research at Middlesex University hopes to save millions of premature babies’ lives by using Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) to monitor breathing in real time

A premature baby is treated in a neonatal unitEvery year 15 million babies are born prematurely, with many suffering respiratory failure due to the immaturity of their lungs.

Currently available methods are unable to detect lung aeration distribution making it difficult for clinicians to deliver the best therapy at all times, but the new CRADL project led by Middlesex University aims to change this.

“An imaging technique for continuous non-invasive bedside monitoring of infants’ lung function is urgently needed,” says Professor Richard Bayford, Director of Biophysics at Middlesex University and project lead.

“Our project addresses this by using EIT technology to monitor the effectiveness of care given to premature babies. Clinicians will be able to use the continuous information and images provided to control the equipment to ensure the best therapy is delivered at all times in an intensive care unit.”

CRADL is the first EU Horizon 2020 project coordinated by Middlesex University and brings together 11 partners from across Europe, including UCL and Swisstom. The team at Middlesex University includes Dr Andrew Tizzard and two postdoctoral researchers.

Launched in January 2016, it has received €5.5 million funding from the EU Horizon 2020 programme and the Swiss State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation SBFI.

The team hope that the three-year project will result in the system ultimately being incorporated into neo-natal clinics around the world.

“The new system will play a crucial part in decreasing the risk of premature death and illness due to respiratory failure,” adds Professor Bayford.

“This is the first time we have technology that can accurately monitor babies’ lung function without the need for sedation. Neonatologists will be able to view real time dynamic images of babies’ lungs every second – an important tool that could prevent many infant deaths in the future.”

For more information visit the CRADL Project website.

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