CHEST 2014: Electronic Stethoscope For Evaluation of Lung and Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ilina and Medha KrishenMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ilina and Medha Krishen
Michigan high school students and sisters Ilina and Medha Krishen, have developed screening tools using electronic stethoscopes to detect lung and heart disease. Their research was presented at the 2014 CHEST national meeting. Ilina and Medha have kindly agreed to discuss their work for the MedicalResearch.com audience.

Medical Research: Ilina, please tell us a little about you and the background for your study.

Ilina: I am a senior at Port Huron Northern High School in Fort Gratiot, Michigan. I was exploring the effects of air pollutants on lungs using frequency analysis of lung recordings. My goal was to see if I could pick up early changes in healthy smokers and firefighters.

Dr. Sridhar Reddy, a local pulmonologist and occupational medicine expert mentored me. He lent me his electronic stethoscope. I am a violinist and a clarinet player, so initially had a lot of fun analyzing music frequencies. Later, I moved to lung sounds (a little more difficult!).

I used a Thinklabs Electronic Stethoscope for recording lung sounds. The inventor, Mr. Clive Smith, helped me understand the stethoscope.

I used the MATLAB program for analyzing frequencies. Mr. Charles Munson, a graduate student at the University of Michigan, helped me write the software program for it.

Medical Research: How did you become interested in this area?

Ilina: Several members of my family have died from the effects of smoking.
I am interested in environmental issues, such as air pollution.
I wanted to perform meaningful community service.

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Ilina: I had 3 groups of volunteers: Never-smokers, current smokers and local firefighters.

Frequency analysis revealed that smokers and firefighters had a broader range of frequencies and a greater proportion of frequency peaks above 125 Hz as compared to never-smokers. These differences are obvious on the frequency plots.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

For Patients: Lung damage occurs early, symptoms reveal an advanced stage of damage. Don’t smoke or quit smoking.

For Physicians: These lung recordings can be used to demonstrate early signs of damage in order to encourage patients to stop smoking. This could be a great educational tool for smoking cessation.

Physicians have always listened to lung sounds and they use their trained ears and knowledge to analyze lung sounds. Now they can keep a graphic record of this for future comparisons.

Community Members: Environmental pollution as a cause of early lung damage is under-appreciated. All of my firefighter volunteers would wear masks while performing their duties. I have presented my data to them and hopefully they can come up with some meaningful solutions.

Three of my smoking volunteers have quit smoking after they saw the results of the study. They want me to come back and do a repeat analysis of their lung sounds in the future.

I am glad that I could be helpful to my community.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

I am doing a follow up study this year.

—————————
Medical Research: Medha, please tell us a little about you and the background for your study.

Medha: I am currently a junior at Port Huron Northern High School in Port Huron, MI.

I was interested in finding a new way to screen high school athletes at risk of dying suddenly (Sudden Cardiac Death) from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). I analyzed heart sound frequencies in patients with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and compared them to individuals with a normal heart.

I used a Thinklabs Digital Electronic Stethoscope to record heart sound frequencies while lying down and after a light exercise. Then, I performed a frequency analysis on the sound recordings, using the MATLAB Software Program.

Dr. Sridhar Reddy, my mentor, let me use his electronic stethoscope for this project.

Mr. Clive Smith, the inventor of THINKLABS Digital Electronic Stethoscope, guided me through the program for recording heart sounds and introducing me to the concepts of filters and noise reduction. It was his suggestion to practice recording sounds of musical instruments. I play the piano and the bassoon.

Mr. Charles Munson, a graduate student at the University of Michigan taught me how to write the software script for Fast Fourier Analysis on MATLAB.

Medical Research: What is the background for your study?

Medha: In middle school, I wrote a research paper on “Sudden Death in Athletes” after a family friend collapsed and died while jogging. Since I am a figure skater, I was very scared. The individual who died was my mentor’s brother-in-law.

He had a genetic condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). It is the most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest under the age of 30. Each year, at least 100 young athletes die suddenly in the US; 65% of these are high school athletes. A health questionnaire and examination at a doctor’s office may miss HCM.

Therefore, Dr. Reddy and I wanted to develop a new screening method for high school athletes.

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Medha: A significant difference was seen between the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and the normal group with exercise. The frequency graphs showed that the distribution of the frequency peaks was completely opposite in the two groups.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Medha: In order to prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest in young athletes, the screening process for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy must begin in high school.

My goal was to develop a technique that can be easily implemented by school staff to screen their athletes for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Medha: Find simple ways to screen for and detect HCM.

Citation:

An Electronic Stethoscope to detect lung and heart disease
Ilina and Medha Krishen
CHEST 2014 presentation discussing