Keeping an AI on heart failure

One in five people worldwide is at risk of developing congestive heart failure, a condition that occurs when the heart becomes too weak or stiff to pump blood efficiently. People at risk of congestive heart failure need to monitor their heart functions closely, a process that requires time-intensive and costly clinical examinations.

Thanks to a smart handheld medical device invented by Assoc Prof Ser Wee of NTU’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Adjunct Assoc Prof David Foo, patients will soon be able to monitor their heart condition from home. The easy-to-use device detects excess fluid in the lungs—a warning sign of congestive heart failure—in just ten seconds when placed on the patient’s chest or back.

Currently in the final product validation stage, the technology relies on artificial intelligence, a proprietary algorithm and sound-sensing technologies. The device can be used in combination with a mobile app to provide rapid and accurate diagnosis of congestive heart failure, allowing for quick intervention by clinicians and self-management by patients of this chronic disease.

Having received interest from patients, clinicians, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies as well as potential investors, the research team has since been granted a patent and is working on the commercialisation of the device via a medtech start-up.

Details of the invention are described in “Acoustic detection of excessive lung water using sub-band features”, published in Proceedings of the IEEE Dallas Circuits and Systems Conference (2015), DOI: 10.1109/DCAS.2015.7356592. 
The article appeared first in NTU’s research & innovation magazine Pushing Frontiers (issue #16, February 2020). 

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