A Rapid and Low-cost Lung Function Testing Method Based on an Optical Flow Sensor
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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was the fifth highest cause of death in 2002 and it is projected to be the fourth highest cause of mortality by 2030 . It is a heterogeneous disease, but the basic abnormality in all patients is airflow limitation, a value that could be easily assessed by pulmonary function tests. These tests are not read- ily available in low and middle income countries. Reasons include high equipment costs and the need for trained personnel. In this work, we present a lung function test that measures three highly relevant values: the forced vital capacity; the forced expiratory volume in one second and their ratio; the Tiffeneau-Pinelli index. The sensor is based on an optical detection principle. Light is coupled into a silicone fiber, that consists of a core and a cladding with low refractive index contrast to ensure high bending sensitivity. All parts of the sensor are low-cost, the silicone fiber can be both disposed and autoclaved.