This look very cool and it’s small and compact.  Shock wave lithotripsy is a procedure for breaking up kidney stones that has been around for a while and it can be hard to tell if the process has been completed, in other words have all the stones been broken.  imageThe Smart Stethoscope does the monitoring and based on what is said here with clinical trials, it’s has a higher accuracy rate to boot.  The monitoring alerts with different sounds so one sound says it’s still there while another sound says it’s gone.  Even more it can determine if a patient will be able to have success with the shock wave treatment before it begins.  BD

Led by Prof. Tim Leighton, a team at the University of Southampton developed the stethoscope. Its handset is placed against the patient’s skin, where it monitors the lithotripsy-delivered shock wave pulses as they echo off the kidney stone. As long as the stone remains intact, those echoes have a sort of “tick” sound – once it’s shattered, however, they become more of a “tock.”

Presently, lithotripsy patients’ stones are monitored using a fluoroscopic X-ray system or ultrasound. Unlike X-rays, however, the Smart stethoscope delivers no harmful radiation. It’s also relatively inexpensive, simple to use, and is reportedly very accurate – in clinical trails of over 200 patients, it’s achieved an accuracy rate of 94.7 percent. By contrast, clinicians using a conventional “state-of-the-art equipment suite” managed just 36.8 percent.

The Smart stethoscope is currently being developed commercially in a partnership with UK-based Precision Acoustics Ltd.


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