The “class-leading” NIOX VERO device for asthma diagnosis in Europe and the US has been updated, making it easier for patients and clinicians to use.

This will mean the FeNO (fractional exhaled nitric oxide) test for assessing lung inflammation is more accurate and efficient, easing the pressure on staff in doctor’s surgeries and hospitals.

London-based consultancy group Precipice Design has worked with Circassia – the UK pharmaceutical company that sells the NIOX VERO device – to make the test more user-friendly.

Precipice Design CEO Miles Hawley said the NIOX VERO Plus enhances the original device, which is already the gold standard in asthma diagnosis.

It has been widely used by NHS trusts in the UK and doctor surgeries in the US.

Speaking to NS Medical Devices, he said: “It’s really about efficiency – and making the test as easy and successful as we possibly can.

“There’s a huge amount of pressure on time in healthcare, and the adjustments we’ve made across the board – in particular to the user interface (UI) – have definitely enhanced where Circassia previously were.

“We want to keep them at the cutting edge of technology in today’s market.”

Diagnosing asthma using the NIOX VERO device: What is the FeNO test?

The FeNO test measures the amount of nitric oxide in a patient’s breath.

Nitric oxide is produced by the cells involved in the inflammation of the lungs, a sign that a person has asthma.

The test is conducted using the NIOX VERO device – a handheld tube the patient blows into – which measures the results.

niox vero
The NIOX VERO Plus device

The device has a screen featuring instructions to the patient on exactly how and when to exhale.

This also displays the results of the test to the clinician as soon as it’s complete.

As well as diagnosing asthma, FeNO tests can be used regularly to track airway inflammation over time, and assess if the condition is being managed successfully.

How does the NIOX VERO Plus improve the test?

The NIOX VERO Plus features a larger, higher resolution screen than its predecessor, making it easier for patients to see the instructions it displays.

Its updated user interface also “gamifies” the FeNO test, giving patients a choice between several simple metaphors to help guide their breathing – including a floating feather, the accelerator gauge from a car and a balloon.

According to Hawley, this new wordless design is easier for patients to understand and follow.

These updates to the screen make the device more user-friendly, improving the patient experience during FeNO tests.

The NIOX VERO Plus also features a new carry handle for added mobility, allowing clinicians to move it between different locations.

Alongside this, the design has been updated to make the breathing tube easier for patients to use – even when there is limited space.

Hawley said: “Time in any country and in any practice is key – all these things are there to enhance the experience and make the device more effective.”

Introducing the updated device into healthcare systems

The updated NIOX VERO device was unveiled at the European respiratory symposium (ERS), which took place in Madrid between September and October of 2019.

It has since gained CE certification for use in the European Union (EU), and is being introduced into NHS trusts in the UK.

Precipice Design and Circassia are now looking to launch the new model in the US and China.