The Pneumo.Vest project enables the continuous monitoring of patients outside of intensive care units (ICUs), according to a press release. Piezoceramic acoustic sensors are fixed on the front and back of the vest to detect and record even the smallest noise produced by the lungs in the thorax. The signals are then registered by a software program, which also electronically amplifies and visually depicts them on a screen.
The result is a comprehensive acoustic and optical picture of the ventilation status of the various parts of the lungs. Moreover, the Pneumo.Vest’s system gathers and stores the data permanently, so that examinations can be scheduled at any time and even in the absence of hospital staff.
The technology is intended to not only expand diagnosis options but also enhance the quality of life of patients. The special vest is being touted as a helpful addition to the traditional doctor’s stethoscope.
“Pneumo.Vest is not looking to make the stethoscope redundant and does not replace the skills of experienced pneumologists. However, auscultation or even CT scans of the lungs only ever present a snapshot at the time of the examination. Our technology provides added value because it allows for the lungs to be monitored continuously in the same way as a long-term ECG, even if the patient is not attached to machines in the ICU but has instead been admitted to the general ward,” said Ralf Schallert, project manager at Fraunhofer IKTS.
The first tests of Pneumo.Vest with staff at the University Clinic for Anesthesiology and Intensive Therapy at the University of Magdeburg have been successful.
“The feedback from doctors was overwhelmingly positive. The combination of acoustic sensors, visualisation, and machine learning algorithms will be able to reliably distinguish a range of different lung sounds. Pneumo.Vest addresses exactly what we need. It serves as an instrument that expands our diagnostic options, relieves the burden on our hospital staff, and makes hospital stays more pleasant for patients,” said Schallert. Dr. Alexander Uhrig, a specialist in infectiology and pneumology at the Charité hospital.
Although the special vest was at first designed for respiratory patients, it can also be used for people in care facilities and in sleep laboratories, added the release. Young doctors can also be trained in auscultation via the Pneumo.Vest.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (NB)