Scientists have developed a digital stethoscope
One of the biggest problems of modern mankind are diseases of the respiratory system. The reasons are obvious: bad ecology, air pollution, smoking. In addition, people themselves are not used to take care of their own health. Therefore, cases of pneumonia occur regularly. However, pneumonia is not so easy to detect, and the probability of death of the patient due to an erroneous diagnosis remains. To improve the accuracy and speed of detection of violations, the researchers developed a digital stethoscope. This technology is especially useful for regions where people are deprived of quality medical care, and there is no opportunity for rapid detection of the disease.
How a digital stethoscope works
Every year, pneumonia kills millions of people in the world. This disease is especially dangerous for children under the age of 5 years. The World Health Organization has published a report on child mortality, and 16% of cases are due to inflammation in the lungs. The highest risk was recorded in countries experiencing a lack of x-ray machines that allow for rapid diagnosis of the violation.
The solution to this problem was offered by experts from Johns Hopkins University. They created the startup Sonavi Labs and offered the world a digital stethoscope. According to the authors of the study, their development will be useful not only for doctors who need to accurately diagnose in difficult conditions, but also for patients, because they will be able to identify the problem on their own.
One of the important problems that researchers had to solve was the sensitivity to the exact location. Ordinary devices, if they are not placed at the right point, will not help to determine the disease. The development of Sonavi Labs professionals is devoid of this problem. The smart stethoscope is equipped with noise reduction devices, which allows it to work in almost any environment. The gadget is able to independently determine the sounds indicating the development of disorders in the lungs.
In addition to noise reduction, the technology has another important advantage. In particular, it may determine the ambient noise and "silence" them. Thus, the doctor has the opportunity to more clearly hear the wheezing in the respiratory system and establish a diagnosis.
Moreover, a person can make a diagnosis on its own. The device itself can analyze sounds in the respiratory system. Studies have shown that the accuracy of self-diagnosis of a smart stethoscope is 87%. The gadget works on the basis of artificial intelligence. For its training, an information database of breath sounds in 1,500 patients was used.
Representatives of Sonavi Labs said they plan to release the development to the market in 2019. In the near future, a smart stethoscope should go to the clinic for the final tests. Experts noted that now they are actively working with hospitals and insurers, who may become customers.
The researchers announced two versions of the gadget – for clinical research and for home use.
Thanks to the spread of devices, doctors expect to significantly improve the quality of the treatment of pulmonary diseases. Digital stethoscopes can help detect pneumonia in the early stages, when it is well treatable. In addition, the gadgets will reduce the number of false calls for help and remotely monitor the development of the disease in chronic patients.