Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Smart stethoscope' advance in monitoring treatment of kidney stones

Date:
December 12, 2012
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
A new listening device is being used to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment of kidney stones -- saving patients unnecessary repeat therapy and x-ray monitoring. The new 'Smart stethoscope' is placed on a patient's skin as they undergo shock wave treatment for kidney stones and assesses whether the treatment is working.

A new listening device, developed by scientists from the University of Southampton, is being used to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment of kidney stones -- saving patients unnecessary repeat therapy and x-ray monitoring.

If kidney stones cannot be dissolved by drugs, the favoured procedure is lithotripsy. Lithotripsy works by focusing thousands of shock waves onto the kidney stones in an effort to break them into pieces small enough to urinate out of the body or be dissolved by drugs.

However, it is difficult to discover exactly when the treatment has succeeded in breaking the stone and patients frequently have to experience more shocks than necessary, or be sent home when an insufficient number of shocks have been delivered to break the stone.

The new 'Smart stethoscope' has been developed by a team from the University's Faculty of Engineering and the Environment in collaboration with Guy's and St Thomas' Foundation Trust (GSTT) and Precision Acoustics Ltd. The programme was led by Professor Tim Leighton from the University's Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR).

The 'Smart stethoscope' is placed on a patient's skin as they undergo shock wave treatment for kidney stones and assesses whether the treatment is working. It listens to the echoes, which reverberate around the body after each shock wave hits the stone. The device is now being used clinically at the London hospitals of GSTT.

Professor Leighton says: "It's an imperfect analogy, but consider a railwayman walking along the length of a train, hitting the metal wheels with a hammer, If the wheel rings nicely, he knows that it's not cracked. If the wheel is cracked, it gives a duller sound.

"We are looking for the stone to go from being intact at the start of treatment (when it will give a nice ring "tick" sound) to being fragmented at the end of the treatment (when it will give a duller "tock" sound)."

Professor Leighton's research, which includes the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) use to inform judgements underpinning the invention of the smart stethoscope, is published in the latest issue of the Royal Society journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

Dr Fiammetta Fedele of GSTT said: "Professor Leighton's CFD predictions of the acoustic signals emitted when bubbles collapse against kidney stones during SWL led (through collaboration with GSTT and Precision Acoustics Ltd.) to a 5,000 passive acoustic sensor. When placed on the patient's skin this sensor diagnoses successful SWL treatments (with 94.7 per cent accuracy in clinical trials, compared to the 36.8 per cent achieved by clinicians with the current state-of-the-art equipment suite). An accurate diagnostic is needed to conform with the 2004 'The NHS improvement Plan: putting people at the heart of public services' of reducing the 'patient pathway', because currently 30-50 per cent of SWL patients require re-treatment and an unknown are overdosed."

The NHS is trialling the smart stethoscope as part of major plans to reduce inaccurate diagnoses and ineffective treatments, and so far GSTT has used the sensor on over 200 patients.

In subsequent use of the device, GSTT have found it has the additional benefit that it can detect whether the treatment will work, before the stage when any possible adverse side effects from the treatment are likely to have occurred. This allows ready identification of those patients who should not receive this treatment, but whom should be referred to some other therapy to treat their kidney stones.

Professor Leighton says: "The research in the paper describes how we reached the decision stage to move from relatively inexpensive computer simulation to much more costly clinical trials in collaboration with NHS. This is a critical stage in R+D of this type -- if the move is taken too early, the expensive clinical trials do not have adequate underpinning science and engineering, resources are wasted, and the eventual patient benefit is delayed. But conversely if the decision to move is taken too late, then the positive benefits to patients can be delayed for years.

"The research in this paper also defines the parameters needed by our commercial partner (Precision Acoustics Ltd.) to build a robust clinical sensor from the laboratory version we had made. It has taken seven years of research and development to arrive at a clinical device from the initial fundamental research done in the early 1990's by Dr Coleman of GSTT and myself. It was hard work with a great team, and seeing the positive patient outcomes now makes it all worthwhile. "


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. G. Leighton, C. K. Turangan, A. R. Jamaluddin, G. J. Ball, P. R. White. Prediction of far-field acoustic emissions from cavitation clouds during shock wave lithotripsy for development of a clinical device. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 2012; 469 (2150): 20120538 DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2012.0538

Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "'Smart stethoscope' advance in monitoring treatment of kidney stones." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121212092815.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2012, December 12). 'Smart stethoscope' advance in monitoring treatment of kidney stones. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121212092815.htm
University of Southampton. "'Smart stethoscope' advance in monitoring treatment of kidney stones." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121212092815.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins