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Children's Unveils Infant Lung Testing Device

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Children's Hospital is the first institution of its kind to acquire a new lung-testing device for infants and toddlers.

Until now, doctors at Children's did not have an effective way of measuring the lung function of its infant patients. Dr. Drucy Borowitz says unlike older patients, you can't get a baby to follow commands.

"When grown-ups are tested for lung function, they are asked to take a big breathe in and blow it out really hard. They have to be able to follow commands," Borowitz said. "We can get kids in first grade, and maybe even in Kindergarten, to do that. But there are many babies where we really haven't had a good tool for helping to diagnose their lung conditions."

Borowitz is chief of Pediatric Pulmonology at Children's. With the new equipment, she says, their ability to diagose breathing problems in infants is dramatically improved. She says it will be especially useful in testing babies born prematurely. In addition, Borowitz says the testing device will allow Children's to better detect a deadly lung disease affecting children.

"Next week, New York State is going to start a new program screening newborns for cystic fibrosis," Borowitz continued. "So, children will be diagnosed when they're very, very young. This will give us a wonderful opportunity to be able to give them preventive treatment."

Cost of the new equipment was $100,000. Two donors -- the group Women Interested in Cystic Health and the Richard and Mae Stone Goode Trust -- financed its purchase.