CareFusion, a global developer of ventilation and respiratory products, has launched AirLife Diagnostic Catheter, a kit that helps clinicians obtain lower respiratory tract samples to accurately diagnose lung infections.

CareFusion claimed that the AirLife Diagnostic Catheter is designed to include everything a single clinician may need to perform the procedure and relies on advanced ‘mini’ bronchial-alveolar lavage (mini-BAL) technology, a diagnostic procedure of washing a sample of cells and secretions from the bronchial airspaces, to obtain a specimen from the lower respiratory airway at a patient’s bedside.

According to the American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine, 2005, hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) accounts for approximately 25% of all hospital-associated infections (HAIs) and up to 27% of infections in the medical intensive-care unit and coronary care unit.

Mechanical ventilation is the principal risk factor in developing HAP and the resulting condition is known as (VAP). It is important to treat the infections quickly with the specific antibiotic in order not to prolong the patient’s time spent on a ventilator, but the challenge is knowing which to use.

The development of HAP has also been shown to increase length of hospital stays and cost. According to Critical Care Medicine, 2004, the cost of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is estimated to be an additional $40,000 per hospital admission per patient with the disease and an estimated $1.2bn per year in the US.

Kathy Short, RRT, RN and director of respiratory care services at University of North Carolina Medical Center, Chapel Hill, NC, said: “By allowing respiratory therapists to accurately obtain specimens, doctors can choose the right medication to help avoid excessive antibiotic use and quickly resolve the isolated infection.”

David Schlotterbeck, chairman and CEO at CareFusion, said: “The AirLife Diagnostic Catheter was developed to help physicians and clinicians determine the right medication for their patients while helping reduce the time and cost of treating potentially life-threatening infections. The device makes the diagnosis process faster and more convenient and is designed to help reduce cross-contamination to allow for more accurate and consistent sampling.”