Z-filter Device

Device captures infectious aerosol particles during treatments

  • Allows nebulized treatment in patients with infectious diseases
  • Prevents environmental contamination
  • Preliminary testing exhibits excellent recapture of aerosolized saline

Licensing Manager: Tyler Scherr, Ph.D.
tyler.scherr@unmc.edu or 402-559-2140


Device captures infectious aerosol particles during treatments

Clinicians from the University of Nebraska Medical Center have developed the Z-filter, a device that mitigates the release of infectious aerosolized particles during nebulizing treatments.
Asthmatic patients or patients experiencing difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, require breathing treatments delivered via a nebulizer, which aerosolizes a liquid medication. The nebulizer allows for faster and less invasive uptake by the patient via their respiratory system. However, in scenarios where the patient may have a highly infectious disease, there is a potential to spread of infectious pathogens as the patient’s breath is dispersed into the air via the nebulizer’s high airflow. Many health-care facilities have stopped all nebulized treatments in fear of contaminating rooms with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19.
The Z-filter is an add-on attachment designed for universal fit with standard oxygen masks that are required for nebulizing treatments. Its construction prevents the release of exhaled infectious particles into the air.
Considering the many upcoming changes in healthcare practices and procedures, the Z-filter could become a standard practice in the future.
To discuss sponsored research and licensing opportunities contact Tyler Scherr, Ph.D., at tyler.scherr@unmc.edu or 402-559-2140.

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Technical details:
The user attaches the Z-filter mouthpiece into the inlet port on the inside of the mask. The patient receives medication from the mouth piece on the inside of the mask. The mouth piece has two bifurcating arms that seals the mask by plugging the two-side exhalation ports.
Alternatively, a plugging disc can also be used to seal the exhalation ports while providing suction. One of the bifurcating arms will be connected to a suction port attached to the wall. When suction force is applied, the suction arm will pull out all the air inside the mask through vents in the suction arm. This allows highly infectious patients receive nebulized treatments without risk of contaminating the environment.
Alternative benefits of the Z-filter device includes scenarios in which other medications such as bronchodilator or vasodilators is nebulized into the air and inhaled by other in the shared space. For example, respiratory therapist often stand in the room with the patient throughout the duration of the treatment and inhaling aerosolized medicine via second-hand.