A device that simultaneously measures carbon and oxygen levels in patients at risk of pulmonary embolism has been developed by a US researcher.

The new BreathScreen PE device, developed by Carolinas Medical Center director of research Dr Jeffrey Kline, measures the levels of various gases at the same time, enabling doctors to better diagnose pulmonary embolism, which develops when a blood clot blocks an artery leading to the lungs.

Initial results show the BreathScreen can reduce the need for CT scans by about 10%, Kline said.

The device, which is slightly larger than a handheld video camera, received a patent for the technology in 2005.