International Clinical Studies Show Why Diagnosing Early Signs of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in COVID-19 Patients Key to Managing Infection

  • Use of Function Respiratory Imaging Key
  • Why Current use of Viral Pneumonia Protocols are Dangerous 
  • COVID-19 death rates on ventilators in NYC of 80%, in the UK of 65%, in Wuhan of 97%

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In the race to find treatment options for COVID-19 patients, physicians and clinicians began treating the virus as they would viral pneumonia. But, new research from Fluidda, a world leader in the field of respiratory imaging, illustrates the difference between the two illnesses and offers a glimpse into new treatment options for hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 patients.

It is well-known how viral pneumonia – that can also be caused by the flu – affects the lungs. Small air sacs in the lungs, called alveoli, contain the smallest veins called capillaries that enable the oxygenation of the blood. When they get infected, they fill up with inflammatory cells compromising oxygen uptake.

Fluidda’s on-going study, which will have more than 500 subjects in the US, UK, and Belgium, shows COVID-19 targets these smallest blood vessels in the lungs rather than the main airways (trachea and bronchi), which can be seen clearly through Functional Respiratory Imaging (FRI) scans. The scans show how the small capillaries of the lung are constricted and build up flow pressures, which, in turn, causes the larger blood vessels to build up pressure as they attempt to get the blood through the capillaries. This build-up of pressure causes the main blood vessels to expand or dilate.

Fluidda’s research indicates that patients can potentially benefit from vascular dilators preferentially given by inhalation. Once the obstruction of the small vessels is confirmed by CT scan, the timely administration of vascular dilation inhalants seems to have the potential to restore oxygen uptake and overall clinical improvement. More importantly, this approach would have the potential, at least in patients responding to this approach, to avoid invasive ventilation.

This would be more than worthwhile since some are reporting death rates on ventilators in New York of 80%, in the UK of 65%, and in Wuhan of 97%. These stark figures may be attributable to the fact that the most severe patients are treated with invasive ventilation. However, invasive ventilation will not cure the underlying inflammation and only offers some extra time for spontaneous recovery, which will not occur in due time in many patients. Alternatively, well-timed and focused pharmaceutical treatments, like inhaled vasodilators among others, are highly needed. It is therefore critical that the pharmaceutical industry has these treatments in place as soon as possible.

With COVID-19, a lung can be already quite affected by the disease without showing symptoms or functional decline when measured with the conventional lung function tests and chest X-rays. Functional Respiratory Imaging (FRI) converts high-resolution CT imaging into three-dimensional reconstructions of anatomical structures and a real-time view of airways, blood vessels, and lung volumes on a regional level. Distinct biomarkers analyze exposure, structure and function of the lungs and airways in any respiratory disease.


  • Airway Resistance
  • Airway Trapping
  • Ventilation Mapping
  • Ventilation/Perfusion Reserve
  • Lung and Lobar volume
  • Emphysema
  • Internal Airflow Distribution
  • Blood Vessel Volume
  • Nodule Volume
  • Airway (wall) Volume
  • Aerosol Deposition

Using these biomarkers, physicians can see if the lung is already compensating for COVID-19 or not. This can help determine those who may be at risk of rapid decline and require early intervention to avoid the dangerous late stages of the disease.

Interviews with experts and physicians associated with the clinical trial are available.

About Fluidda

Founded in 2005, Fluidda is the world leader in respiratory healthcare innovation using Functional Respiratory Imaging (FRI). The company’s FRI technique combines HRCT scans, Computational Fluid Dynamics, and Artificial Intelligence technology, while generating patient-specific 3D models to provide a unique tool for phenotyping patients to improve the diagnosis and monitoring of respiratory diseases as well as the efficacy of novel respiratory drugs.

The company also recently received FDA-approval for Broncholab. Fluidda is both a clinical research services company and a partner of healthcare professionals by offering worldwide evidence for better respiratory treatment.

Fluidda’s recent clinical studies

Schepens T, Xiao L, Holsbeke CV, Vos W, Backer JD, Parizel PM, Backer WD, Qin L, Rouby J-Jacques, Jorens PG, Functional Respiratory Imaging of the Airways in the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Anaesthesia Critical Care & Pain Medicine (2020),

De Backer L, Vos W, Dieriks B, Daems D, Vinchurkar S, Ides K, De Backer Jan, Germonpre P, De Backer W. The effects of long-term noninvasive ventilation in hypercapnic COPD patients: a randomized controlled pilot study. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2011;6:615-624

Hajian B, De Backer J, Vos W, Van Holsbeke C, Ferreira F, Quinn D, Hufkens A, Claes R, De Backer W. Pulmonary vascular effects of pulsed inhaled nitric oxide in COPD patients with pulmonary hypertension. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2016;11(1):1533-1541


Gemma Cunningham, Cunningham & Associates
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