Home Monitoring of Asthma Symptoms Found Effective with Use of AI-Aided Stethoscope

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This innovation could be useful for optimizing the collaboration between patients with asthma and their health care providers through remote telemedicine consultations.

Recent study results indicate that an artificial intelligence (AI)-aided home stethoscope can help detect asthma exacerbations more effectively than peak expiratory flow measurements. Because asthma has symptoms that are measured objectively, such as peak expiratory flow (PEF), the measuring of symptoms can be performed at home.1

Woman using an asthma inhaler

Image credit: DALU11 | stock.adobe.com

Researchers conducted a 6-month long observational study of 149 patients with asthma (90 children, 59 adults) who were monitored at home. The investigators examined which symptoms are crucial to measure in detecting exacerbation and to what extent the AI-aided home stethoscope supported the detection—particularly in children with asthma. Patients filled out health state surveys and regularly (daily for first 2 weeks, then weekly for next 5.5 weeks with increased frequency as needed during exacerbations) performed self-examinations using 3 devices: an AI-aided home stethoscope to record wheezes, rhonchi, as well as course and fine crackles intensity, and both respiratory and heart rates; a peripheral capillary oxygen saturation meter; and a PEF meter.1,2

For patients older than 5 years of age, standard certified medical devices were used to take objective measures of asthma symptoms (e.g., pulse oximeters for peripheral capillary oxygen saturation and peak flow meters for expiratory flow). These measures were not taken in patients younger than 5 years of age.1

Further, auditory symptoms were recorded from standard chest points of all study participants and the sound files were transferred to a mobile application. The recordings were automatically analyzed by an AI module and the generated results (pathological auscultatory sound intensities, heart rate, respiratory rate, and inspiration-to-expiration duration ratio) were displayed in the app.1

Although taking multiple measures is preferred, the study results indicate that AI analysis of home stethoscope recordings alone can efficiently detect asthma exacerbation in patients of all ages. The best single-parameter discriminators of exacerbations were wheezes intensity for young children (AUC 84% [95% CI, 82%-85%]), rhonchi intensity for older children (AUC 81% [95% CI, 79%-84%]), and survey answers for adults (AUC 92% [95% CI, 89%-95%]). In addition, the greatest efficacy in terms of AUC was observed for a combination of several parameters.1,2

This AI-aided home tool can be used to optimize patient-physician collaboration through remote telehealth appointments. In addition, the AI stethoscope can significantly facilitate asthma monitoring in children under the age of 5. Because asthma is prevalent in both adults and children and can worsen over time without proper treatment and management, the AI tool can help by detecting asthma and allow for the progression of treatment.1,2

References

1. American Academy of Family Physicians. An AI-aided stethoscope can improve home monitoring of asthma in very young children. News release. November 27, 2023. Accessed November 27, 2023. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/1008677

2. Emeryk A, Derom E, Janeczek K, et al. Home Monitoring of Asthma Exacerbations in Children and Adults With Use of an AI-Aided Stethoscope. The Annals of Family Medicine. 2023;21(6):517-525. doi:10.1370/afm.3039

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