H.26 When your shirt can listen to your lungs: A solution for remote detection of acute lung disease
In the era of technological advances, a thorough examination of the respiratory system retains its importance in diagnosing disorders of the respiratory system. Auscultation of the chest is among the oldest bedside diagnostic techniques used to assess airflow through airways. It is an easy, safe, non-invasive and cost-effective diagnostic technique, but requires trained providers to perform and interpret it. The majority of the manifestations of respiratory disease present with abnormalities of chest examination. Egophony for example is increased resonance of voice sounds heard when auscultating the lungs. In the case of pleural effusion, fluid accumulates in the pleural space. This fluid compresses the overlying lung parenchyma, making it more solid than usual. Due to this change, there is an alteration in the lung acoustics that preferentially transmits higher sound frequencies and gives rise to an egophony. This can also be seen with a pneumonia (lung infection). When the lung is abnormally full of fluids in heart failure exacerbation for example, we hear crackles throughout the lung fields. When someone has a pneumonia, we hear crackles over the pneumonia site only. A chest xray needs to be done to help confirm a diagnosis. With increasing telemedicine practices, efforts to develop remote examination tools becomes essential.
The goal of this project would be to develop a shirt embedded with sensors that can help identify different pathologies of the lung based on sound transmission characteristics/conduciveness. The tool can easily provide physician additional information regarding lung exam without physically examining the patient and without much contribution from the patient’s side (user friendly). Valuable in a telehealth setting.