Help for Children —

Every year more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely in the United States and the majority of premature infants have breathing difficulties when they are born and is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions they will face.  Oxygen therapy is the administration of oxygen at concentrations greater than that in room air to treat or prevent hypoxemia (not enough oxygen in the blood). Oxygen is considered a “drug” and both too much or too little can be detrimental to the health of premature babies in the neonatal ICU, therefore oxygen dosing needs to be closely monitored.

The current clinical practice is to monitor the oxygen saturation monitor display to guide how much extra oxygen a premature baby needs.  However, the adjustment of the amount of extra oxygen that is given to a patient is not continuous or instantaneous.  It depends entirely on a care provider noticing and responding to the oxygen saturation monitor in a timely fashion.  This can be difficult in the busy neonatal ICU and premature babies, at any given time, may have periods of getting too much or too little supplemental oxygen because the care provider cannot react instantaneously.   We Can Do Better…

Hope for Families —

Closed-Loop Neonatal Oxygen Control System

To better control the oxygen levels reaching the neonate when on either CPAP, Low-Flow Nasal Cannula or High-Flow Nasal Cannula treatment, an automated system needs to closed the loop between the blood oxygen saturation levels and the O2 concentration of the inhaled air.  A system that continuously monitors the SpO2 levels of the child and then controls that level within a prescribed range by continually adjusting the FiO2 levels to the child will not only off-load the attending nurses to do other vital tasks but will help maintain the child in the healthy SpO2 level for a greater percentage of the time.

The main features of this product include:

  • Continual monitoring of the SpO2 from existing pulse oximeter systems
  • Means of adjusting FiO2 levels through custom oxygen blender
  • Closed-Loop control system maintaining appropriate control

Current Activities Include:

  • Prototyping first system
  • Determining approximate transfer function of typical patient

Project History:

  • Project identified and supported through Children’s Hospital of Minnesota
  • Fall 2009, 2-Semester Senior Design Project initiated with University of Minnesota Bio-Medical Engineering

If you have interest in  to help with this project please visit the  section of the website.