H.15B When your shirt can listen to your lungs: A solution for remote detection of acute lung disease
Acute lung issues are multiple and very frequent. They can happen in healthy people (like pneumonia, pneumothorax) or in sick patients (heart failure patients, patients with lung disease at baseline, etc…). In heart failure patients for example, when they’re not compliant with their medication or their diet, their lungs can fill with water. Some patients can develop pneumonia, which is a consolidation in one or multiple lobes of their lungs. In the hospital or in clinic, providers use different exam techniques to try to detect and differentiate these different lung diseases. We can use the stethoscope to listen to the lungs, we can hear crackles for example which are a sign of something filling the lung (either water or infection). Other ways to detect a disease and differentiate between them include bronchophony, pectoriloquy and egophony (all based on voice/sound changes). Egophony is increased resonance of voice sounds heard when auscultating the lungs. A solid (consolidated), fluid-filled, or compressed lung decreases the amplitude and only allows select frequencies to pass through. These examinations are usually done at bedside only and can guide the provider in terms of management and treatment even before obtaining chest imaging.
This project aims to develop a shirt/vest that can detect these differences in sound/vibration conduction through the lungs (or impendance?) and provide more insight into the disease process that is ongoing. It would be a way to conduct lung physical exam remotely and provide valuable information with minimal patient effort. Telehealth is expanding quickly and thus the value of remote monitoring has been steadily increasing. This “device” would be especially valuable in patients who complain of a cough or shortness of breath, as it can hint towards one diagnosis or the other and help guide management.