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There’s a new tool at Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley to help kids with pulmonary issues like asthma. The machine is small, just like the patients who use it, but plays a big role in diagnosis and treatment.
The new machine looks like a telephone booth and allows doctors to better treat and diagnose kids and teens with breathing issues. Testing is done inside the “booth” measures volume in a child’s lungs, determines if there is an air trapping and helps with restrictive lung disease.
“This is the only lab in this area which is devoted to children only,” said pediatric pulmonologist Dr. Rajeev Bhatia. “If someone has a chest wall deformity or any other problems which is restricting them to take deep breaths, we should be able to tell with this equipment.”
Inside the chamber, the doctor is able to communicate with the patient via a microphone and will monitor several breathing exercises that are given. The test takes about 10 minutes.
Bhatia said only patients over five years old are administered the test and the test has been used on many patients since the machine was installed a few months ago.
“First of all, kids love it because they have to sit in this box, and it’s kind of an exciting adventure,” said Bhatia.
The testing is extremely accurate. Bhatia said about 90 percent of asthma diagnoses can be confirmed with the new machine.
Hospital officials said there are only two labs like this is in a 23-county area, and this is the only one in Mahoning County.