The Tech

INside the Technology

The Problem

COPD is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 3 million Americans every year, and currently has no cure. Additionally, the rates of COPD are rapidly growing creating a $3 billion US market opportunity.

Current technologies, including high-flow nasal cannulas, non-invasive ventilators, and invasive ventilators use high force or pressure to deliver oxygen to the lungs, which could damage the lung tissue. This also decreases patient adherence to treatments.

The Solution

The technology utilizes mixed gases such as heliox, a gas that reduces the work of breathing for patients. Heliox has been studied for decades, but previous technologies failed to make the treatment affordable.

A semi-closed loop system helps conserve heliox, making it more valuable as a treatment for COPD and other respiratory diseases.

The technology may overcome one of the largest COPD issues, which is patient adherence. Patients do not want to use current technology because the high-pressure flow is uncomfortable.

How it Works

Due to the low density of helium, greater airflow occurs into the lungs, therefore decreasing the work of breathing. This enables heliox and oxygen to move deeper into the lungs. In turn, this helps increase the patient’s blood oxygen levels.


Low density heliox has been shown to carry oxygen more easily and deeper into the lungs, decreasing the work of breathing and increasing patient blood oxygen levels.*

Additionally, low, ambient pressure systems may decrease patient breathing discomfort as compared to high pressure systems.**

Lastly, the semi-closed system may decrease exposure to patient infections and waste of air supply through CO2 scrubbing.***

*Respiration. 2015; 89(2):166-74. doi: 10.1159/000369472.
**European Respiratory Journal. 2001; 18(1):107-114. doi: 10.1183/09031936.01.00083901.
***Indian Journal of Anesthesiology. 2013; 57(5):516-524. doi: 10.4103/0019-5049.120149.

Additional Applications

SaiOx™ plans to continue developing different generations of the Hespiro™ device. These developments may include a home device and a field device that can treat COPD in various settings.