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MedUni Vienna uses unique technology in lung research (Vienna, November 25th, 2011) Being third medical university in the world to do so, after Bern and Mainz, the MedUni Vienna has been using MMIMS technology in lung research for a number of weeks, representing an innovative extension to the conventional MIGET methods for monitoring and measuring lung function. With this move, the Medical University is also highlighting its leading position in lung research at the Clinical Department of General Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, led by Klaus Markstaller.

MIGET stands for “multiple inert gas elimination technology” and is regarded as the experimental gold standard for determining the distribution of ventilation and perfusion ratios in the lungs. MMIMS stands for “micropore membrane inlet mass spectrometry”.

Much simpler procedure with MMIMS

MIGET allows the total capacity of the lungs to be determined and monitored very effectively – however the procedure is quite complex. The method used currently is based on the indirect determination of inert gases dissolved in the blood. The problem with this is that the inert gases dissolved in the blood must be extracted before they can be analysed and the solubility of each inert gas needs to be measured individually as a result. For this, a relatively large sample volume (around 20 – 40 ml of blood) needs to be taken for each MIGET measurement, followed by a gas assay that takes several hours. Says Markstaller: “This method can therefore only be carried out in highly specialist research laboratories and involves a lot of work.”

The use of MMIMS significantly simplifies the procedure, allowing the complex method to also be used in routine clinical situations for the first time. “MIGET with MMIMS means that lung diseases could be discovered earlier thanks to more sensitive treatment monitoring,” says James Baumgardner from the American firm Oscillogy LLC, which manufactures medical equipment and which invented MMIMS.

Baumgardner paid Klaus Markstaller’s department a visit last week and even took part in an “in vivo test” involving MMIMS at the Medical University of Vienna. The method is currently “only” being used in pre-clinical studies. Baumgardner’s prediction: “In four years’ time, it could also be available for use on patients in clinics.”