Respiratory leaders join forces in bid to address UK's respiratory diagnostic crisis

Press Release

7 November 2023


  • TidalSense partners with Asthma + Lung UK, Chiesi Limited, Hull York Medical School, and Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to validate its AI diagnostic technology in a real-world setting.
  • This collaboration will form one of the largest prospective real-world studies of a novel respiratory diagnostic technology, which is urgently needed to enable people to get diagnosed and on the right treatment.
  • TidalSense's AI diagnostic technology could offer an alternative to spirometry testing, which was paused during the pandemic, resulting in a 51% reduction in COPD diagnoses in 2022.1 Access is now patchy, meaning many people don't get diagnosed or treated early enough.2
  • This study will also examine whether the ground-breaking AI technology can diagnose patients with COPD earlier than the current gold standard, spirometry.

Cambridge, UK, November 7, 2023: TidalSense, which develops AI diagnostic and monitoring technologies for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, announces a project which launched in October with leading lung charity Asthma + Lung UK, international research-focused biopharmaceutical and healthcare group Chiesi Limited, Hull York Medical School and Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, in a bid to address the current COPD diagnostic crisis.3

The organisations aim to find innovative diagnostic solutions that will help tackle the serious health problems caused by delayed diagnosis and reduced access to treatments for people with lung conditions.4 Over 1.4 million people are diagnosed with COPD, however, when including the undiagnosed population, estimates suggest that the total number living with COPD could be 1.9 million,5 with one in eight respondents to an Asthma + Lung UK survey waiting more than 10 years for a diagnosis.6

This project, co-developed between TidalSense, Chiesi Limited and Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, and supported by an Asthma + Lung UK grant (£287,000) will enable the real world assessment of the clinical application of TidalSense AI diagnostic technology for COPD, using the N-Tidal handheld device.

The diagnostic test has the potential to provide someone with a diagnosis of COPD in under five minutes. It records a single minute of normal relaxed breathing via a mouthpiece, which is much easier for people to use than traditional spirometry tests as it requires less effort from the patient.7 As the N-Tidal device requires no specialist training or certification, it can also be administered by any healthcare professional.

In contrast, spirometry tests take around thirty minutes, and require the user to be coached and the clinician to be specifically trained.

The funding boost TidalSense has received for this project, will part-fund a study at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS trust, involving 1,200 people, aged 55-57, identified as having suspected COPD as part of the Lung Health Check Programme. They will assess the technology over a period of two years. Outcomes will be measured against the existing spirometry test and it is hoped it will result in the new diagnostic test being adopted across the NHS from 2025.

As part of the study, a first-of-its kind diagnostic algorithm will be built to detect changes in people with very early COPD, even if they haven't yet experienced breathing problems. COPD is an incurable lung condition, which includes emphysema or long-term bronchitis and affects around 1.4 million people in England.5 This supports the NHS Long Term Plan, which prioritises earlier diagnosis for people with respiratory conditions such as COPD.8

Hull was selected partly because of its higher levels of deprivation compared to the national average, with nearly 21% of people living in fuel poverty, compared to a national average of just over 13% (data from Research, such as the recent Asthma + Lung UK Breathing Unequal report,10 demonstrates that those living in the poorest areas of England with lung conditions like COPD, have double the risk of an emergency hospital admission.

Professor Mike Crooks, a Consultant Respiratory Physician at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Professor of Respiratory Medicine at Hull York Medical School, said: "This collaboration is of significant strategic importance. It enables us to work together in the realm of respiratory diagnostics, striving for improved early detection and patient outcomes. We are eagerly anticipating the progress this partnership will enable."

TidalSense is focused on developing solutions for more effective management, and faster and more accurate diagnosis of respiratory diseases. Its AI tech has been used by over 1,000 patients in clinical studies over five years.7

The Asthma + Lung UK grant reflects the charity's recognition of TidalSense's commitment to earlier detection of COPD and its belief that the technology could significantly change how respiratory care is managed. The importance of earlier diagnosis is included in the organisation's overall strategy for respiratory disease management and forms part of the recommendations in its recent report.11 The collaboration is a major step in the ongoing focus to modernise respiratory diagnostics, whilst also underlining a shared commitment to people with lung disease.

By facilitating research into potential advances in early detection and diagnosis, the impact of TidalSense's AI diagnostic technology could be considerable.

Sarah Woolnough, CEO of Asthma + Lung UK, said: "At the moment it can take at least 30 minutes for a spirometry test to be carried out, the N-Tidal device takes under 5 minutes. The significant time saved would make the device easier for healthcare professionals to use in clinic and means that more people could get a more timely and accurate COPD diagnosis. If proven to be effective, this device could have a tangible impact on the lives of people with lung conditions. Research and innovation such as the development of new diagnostic tools has the potential to change lives and is key to helping diagnose, treat and manage lung conditions much more effectively. Lung conditions are the third biggest killer in the UK, but only receive 2% of public investment. We're fighting for increased funding for research and innovation that could transform and save millions of lives in the UK and across the world."

Tom Delahoyde, Managing Director, Chiesi Limited said: "We believe that innovation is crucial in the diagnosis of COPD, and that this collaboration is a significant step forward in investigating a promising technology. We're proud to be involved in this partnership as part of our ongoing commitment to improving patient outcomes and subsequently, their quality of life. Chiesi has been developing medicines to treat respiratory disease for more than 30 years and in that time, we know that many COPD patients face challenges with delays to diagnosis."

Dr Ameera Patel, CEO of TidalSense, added: "Partnerships like this are critical for solving big problems like the lack of simple, accurate, diagnostic testing with veracity. This collaboration will turbo-charge our efforts to gather real-world longitudinal evidence of our technology and will support us in building the next generation of early diagnostic solutions. This validation underscores our unwavering commitment to pioneering new avenues in COPD diagnosis. Speaking from personal experience having waited over a decade to be diagnosed with asthma, I know what a big impact early point-of-care diagnostic tests can have on patients, reducing prolonged anxiety, uncertainty and misdiagnosis."


Notes To Editor

Two usability studies were conducted, the first taking place between Feb 2020 and Jan 2022 and the second taking place between June 2021 and November 2022. The studies involved 864 patients and gained feedback on how easy the device was to use, look after and how easy the test was to perform.

About TidalSense

TidalSense (formerly Cambridge Respiratory Innovations) is a respiratory technology company changing the way respiratory medicine is practised. Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Cambridge, the healthtech is building AI-based diagnostic and monitoring solutions for COPD and asthma. The solutions, which use patented sensor technology, are able to detect changes in the lungs to automatically and more accurately diagnose respiratory conditions, creating efficiencies in healthcare environments and delivering a better patient experience.

The company has received £13m in financial support to date from investors such as BGF, Downing, Foresight Group, Innovate UK, SBRI Healthcare, NIHR and Asthma + Lung UK.

About Chiesi Limited

Chiesi is an international, research-focused biopharmaceuticals group that develops and markets innovative therapeutic solutions in respiratory health, rare diseases, and specialty care. The company's mission is to improve people's quality of life and act responsibly towards both the community and the environment.

By changing its legal status to a Benefit Corporation in Italy, the US, and France, Chiesi's commitment to create shared value for society as a whole is legally binding and central to company-wide decision-making. As a certified B Corp since 2019, we're part of a global community of businesses that meet high standards of social and environmental impact. The company aims to reach Net-Zero greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by 2035.

With over 85 years of experience, Chiesi is headquartered in Parma (Italy), operates in 31 countries, and counts more than 6,500 employees. The Group's research and development centre in Parma works alongside 6 other important R&D hubs in France, the US, Canada, China, the UK, and Sweden.

For further information please visit:

About Asthma + Lung UK

Asthma + Lung UK is the only charity in the UK fighting for everyone with a lung condition, aiming for a world where everyone can breathe with healthy lungs. We fund cutting-edge research, and provide advice and support for the 12 million people who will get a lung condition during their lifetime. We also campaign for clean air and for better NHS diagnosis and treatment.

For further information visit:

About Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is a large acute NHS Trust situated in Kingston upon Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. The Trust was established in October 1999 through the merger of the former Royal Hull Hospitals and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trusts. We employ just over 8400 whole time equivalent staff, have an annual income of circa £726 million and we have two main hospital sites: Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital and some support sites predominantly in Hull. Outpatient services are also delivered from locations across the local health economy area.

About Hull York Medical School

Hull York Medical School has a unique partnership with the Universities of Hull and York, NHS Trusts and community healthcare providers and is one of the UK's most exciting, contemporary schools, delivering innovative and rigorous medical education.

Our impact goes beyond teaching and learning and extends to research, which has discovery and innovation at its heart. This research is improving the lives of patients locally and impacting national and international health agendas, in areas such as cancer research, palliative medicine, mental health and global public health.

[UK-CHI-2300633 October 2023]

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