tremoFlo™ featured on Channel 7 News

Channel 7 News featured the tremoFlo™ Airwave Oscillometry System being used to help assess childhood asthma in Sydney, Australia.

The original news report is available on the Channel 7 News website at

This report was inspired by a recent study from researchers at the Woolcock Institute looking at the day-to-day variability of childhood asthma entitled “Increased Day-To-Day Variability of Forced Oscillatory Resistance in Poorly Controlled or Persistent Paediatric Asthma“.

Legacy Research Grants provide foundations for success

This article was published in The Lung Association of Nova Scotia’s 2011–2012 Annual Report. The full report can be viewed here.

Dr. Geoff Maksym of THORASYS at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) Annual Congress in Vienna.

Dr. Geoff Maksym of THORASYS at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) Annual Congress in Vienna.

In 2004, Dr. Geoff Maksym received a Legacy Research Grant from the Lung Association of Nova Scotia to conduct a study related to his work on Airwave Oscillometry™. Airwave Oscillometry is a method for measuring lung function without the patient effort that is needed in a spirometry test. “The idea began in 2003″, said Dr. Maksym, “It took us a couple tries to get this down into a device that is like a spirometer but we’ve had great reception at conferences so far.”

“It’s like a spirometer, where patients inhale their total lung capacity and then are asked to exhale as hard and as fast as they can, but much easier for the patient,” explains Dr. Maksym. “The spirometer technique works very well for people who can do the maneuver but for people who can’t, such as young children or elderly patients, it’s easier if we can create a technique where they don’t have to blow the air through.” So Dr. Maksym and his team set about to create such a device. The outcome was the tremoFlo™ C-100. “This device is essentially a little mesh screen in a tube that the patients breathe through,” explained Dr. Maksym. “The mesh screen moves back and forth, creating small pressure waves, like small puffs of air that go into the lungs, and it basically measures how hard it is for those puffs of air to move in and out of the lungs. The more pressure it takes to move a small volume of air into the lungs, the more narrow your airways are.”

In 2006, and again in 2010, Dr. Maksym would receive two more Legacy Research Grants for his ongoing work in lung health. Dr. Maksym credits these grants with helping him collect data and supporting his research in Airwave Oscillometry. “These grants get you started,” he said. “They’re like establishment grants. And those are very important, especially for the new researchers or for the more established researchers who are doing something in a new direction for which they don’t have preliminary data. The support we receive from the lung Association has been very helpful.”

In September 2012, Dr. Maksym, and his team at THORASYS Thoracic Medical Systems Inc., brought the tremoFlo C-100 to the European Respiratory Society (ERS) Annual Congress in Vienna (see photo).

“The Lung Association started us and helped us along the way and eventually it led to quite a bigger investment through ACOA,” said Dr. Maksym. “These grants don’t always lead to bigger things but I think without them it would be really hard for some of the lung researchers in Nova Scotia to make as big a difference nationally as they do.”

Thorasys receives $500k investment from ACOA

We are pleased to announce that THORASYS Thoracic Medical Systems Inc. (THORASYS) has received an investment of $500,000 (Canadian Funds) under the Business Development Program (BDP) from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). The funds will be used to help THORASYS with the final steps required to bring the tremoFlo™ Airwave Oscillometry System (AOS)™ to market in the next twelve months.

Public Announcement

The official announcement took place Wednesday, September 12th, at the Dalhousie University Life Sciences Research Centre located near the Innovacorp offices. Dr. Thomas Schuessler, President and CEO of THORASYS, accepted the award on behalf of the THORASYS team and thanked ACOA and the Government of Canada for their support through the BDP and other programs. The ACOA funding “will be used towards a variety of go-to-market activities, including regulatory approval, marketing activities and launch preparations”, Schuessler said, “as well as to build THORASYS’ distribution network”.

The funding announcement came just days after the European Respiratory Society (ERS) Congress in Vienna, Austria, where the tremoFlo was introduced for the first time on European soil and received an enthusiastic response. Potential distributors, clinicians and global key opinion leaders coming by the THORASYS booth were impressed by the tremoFlo’s form factor, portability, ease of use, and the minimum effort and cooperation required from the patient when compared to Spirometry.

Congratulations to DeNovaMed

We would like to take this opportunity to also congratulate Halifax-based DeNovaMed, who received similar funding for their ground-breaking work towards developing treatments for drug-resistant infectious diseases.

For media coverage of the ACOA announcement, refer to The Chronicle Herald and to the website (subscribers only). A news release from the Government of Canada is also available on the ACOA site.

CTV News reports on COPD

To anyone working in this field, it has been known for a while that COPD is an increasingly important and deadly disease. Today, COPD is the fourth leading cause of death, and the World Health Organization predicts that it will rise to third place by 2020. Nonetheless, the disease is still little known to much of the public, and large epidemiological studies to quantify the lifetime risk factors associated with COPD are still few and far between. So it’s a good thing that one such study by Gershon et al., recently published in The Lancet1, was readily picked up by CTV health reporter Avis Favaro and featured in their national evening news on September 8. The clip describes COPD as a “little-known lung disorder” that is “a bigger problem than people think”. Watch it here.

Watch for the cough…

One of the interesting things that this clip shows is what it’s like for many patients to take a spirometry exam. If you watch the very start of the clip, you may notice two things. First, the lady taking the test doesn’t look very comfortable after she has performed the manoeuvre and blown into the spirometer. Second, you can clearly see that the spirometry test triggers a cough response in this patient. Any RT will happily tell you that this is a common occurrence that can severely interfere with performing the manoeuvre. Obtaining three valid consecutive spirometry manoeuvres in a patient like this may prove to be quite a challenge, without any fault on behalf of the patient or the technician.

The starting sequence of this clip therefore illustrates quite nicely what many experts have said for years: although spirometry is considered quite useful when it is performed well, it also has many shortcomings and limitations, especially for those patients that would benefit the most from accurate and reliable lung function assessment.

Forced Oscillations

The Forced Oscillation Technique (FOT) is still in its infancy compared to decades-old spirometry. Because a patient simply breathes quietly through an FOT device such as our tremoFlo, though, the FOT has the potential to provide a better alternative to measure lung function – especially in patients like Eileen Anderson who need it the most.

1Andrea S Gershon, Laura Warner, Paul Cascagnette, J Charles Victor, Teresa To. Lifetime risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a longitudinal population study. The Lancet, Vol. 378 (9795): 991-996, September 2011.