Smartphone technology that listens for heart failure

Smartphone technology that listens for heart failure

Algorithm diagnoses condition from six sentences a day

Voice technology can now detect early signs of heart problems in heart patients, weeks before they are aware of any symptoms.

All they have to do is record themselves on a smartphone for 45 seconds a day. Then a super-sensitive algorithm “listens” for problems.

The technology has been developed by Israel-based Cordio MedicalDesigned for patients suffering from congestive heart failure, when fluid builds up within the heart and causes it to pump inefficiently.

Cordio’s voice app, Hiero, reads sentences to patients daily, and uses low-level speech processing to look for very small changes in the lungs and see if there’s a problem. manners

They may already have been diagnosed with a chronic condition and may be taking medication to reduce the strain on their heart.

But they won’t be aware until it’s too late that extra fluid has accumulated in their heart and lungs, and they’re already suffering from symptoms of a relapse.

According to recent tests on patients in Israel, Cordio’s voice app, HereO, can pick up on small changes for up to 18 days before they start feeling unwell.

This gives his doctors a chance to double his dose of diuretics — drugs that lower blood pressure — for a few days and avoid the trauma of a hospital stay.

“We are probably one of the first companies in the world to actually use speech to detect clinical conditions in humans,” says Tamir Tal, the company’s CEO.

“Speech contains a lot of personal information about us. When you talk to your mother, just one sentence is enough for her to know how you feel.

“We’re using speech to give the physician something that they can use to determine the actual medical condition of the patient.”

The human heart is surrounded by the lungs. stock photos

Fluid accumulation in the lungs is the best indicator that a patient has undiagnosed heart problems, but measuring it is something that has eluded modern medical science so far.

It does not show up in any test or scan. Attempts to track this by measuring the patient’s pulse, breathing and weight give too many false positives.

High-tech wearable devices have had some success, says Tal, but rely heavily on patient compliance.

And monitors that are surgically inserted into the heart provide accurate information but are invasive, expensive, and unpopular.

But having a patient recite six sentences a day on their smartphone is easy, effective and accurate. That daily voice file is enough for the algorithm to know if something is wrong.

Our lungs push air through the larynx and are the place where the whole speech process begins, so any irregularity there will affect the way we speak, even if we can’t actually hear it.

“We’re doing what’s called low-level speech processing, looking at very small changes in the lungs,” says Tal.

Doctors can check daily voice files of their patients. manners

“It’s like the sensor in a car engine that turns on a light on the dashboard if it starts filling up with excess fluid.”

Patients recite their sentences daily. An example in English is “Emma bought a nice cup of tea”, but the system caters to half a dozen languages ​​and can easily be adapted for more.

Professor Ilan Shalom, working at Audiocodes, one of the world’s largest speech processing companies, has developed real-time speech and voice analysis that detects the initial build-up of fluid.

Their work allows Hiero to hear variations in sound from the vocal tract that are too subtle for the human ear.

Siri and Alexa analyze and understand human language but Hiero is a more sophisticated type of voice technology.

Patients record a baseline voice sample when they are in good health, and the algorithm compares it to a daily sound file sent from their device.

A recent study among 180 patients at 10 medical centers in Israel found that the system identified heart failure an average of 18 days earlier, based on that daily voice sample.

It made a correct diagnosis in 82 percent of cases, while monitoring the patient’s weight achieved only 10 to 20 percent.

Hiero is aimed at patients who would have died of a heart attack or other heart condition 20 years ago, but who are routinely rescued today using minimally invasive techniques. Still, his heart is traumatized, and it isn’t working the way it should.

HereO is targeted at patients who would have died of a heart attack or other cardiac condition 20 years ago, but who are routinely rescued today. Courtesy Tumisu from Pixabay

With a healthy heart, the blood stays in a closed loop system. But if the heart is working at a reduced capacity, fluid – plasma, water and blood – can begin to accumulate in the body and eventually fill the lungs.

It usually takes three weeks to a month for the patient to feel the symptoms. By then it is too late and they may already be quite seriously ill.

Tal says, even if the patient was in the hospital, the world’s best MRI machines could not detect or image the fluid.

“Therefore, there is no gold standard in heart failure. No one knows when someone’s condition is deteriorating, only the physicians taking care, doing clinical investigations with their condition.

“There’s currently no test that can tell you what’s going on. No problem, not another blood test, not an imaging device, absolutely nothing.

“People don’t like using medical devices designed for use at home. They’re designed primarily for clinical efficacy rather than user pleasure. But people use their iPhone or Android Very happy to have done.

HearO will undergo two patient trials in Israel next year and has received approval to market in Spain, the UK and Germany in early 2023.

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