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Smartphone Tech That Listens Out For Heart Failure

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Algorithm diagnoses the condition from 6 sentences a day

Voice technology can now detect early signs of heart disease weeks before heart patients notice symptoms.

All they need to do is record themselves on their smartphones for 45 seconds a day. An ultra-sensitive algorithm then “listens” for problems.

Technology developed by an Israel-based company cordio medicalis designed for patients suffering from congestive heart failure, where fluid builds up in the heart and reduces pump efficiency.

Cordio’s voice app, HearO, asks patients to recite sentences daily and uses low-level audio processing to look for tiny changes in their lungs to see if there’s a problem.courtesy

They have already been diagnosed with a chronic disease and are on medication to relieve pressure on their hearts.

However, they don’t realize that they have excess fluid in their hearts and lungs until it’s too late, and they’re already suffering from recurring symptoms.

Cordio’s voice app, called HearO, can detect small changes up to 18 days before feeling sick, according to recent tests on Israeli patients.

This allows doctors to double the dose of diuretics (drugs that lower blood pressure) for several days and avoid the trauma of hospitalization.

CEO of the company, Tamir Tal, said:

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

“We are using voice to provide information that allows doctors to objectively determine the actual medical condition of a patient.”

Human heart surrounded by lungs.deposit photo

Fluid accumulation in the lungs is the best indication that a patient has an undiagnosed heart problem, but measuring it has so far been unachievable in modern medicine. .

It will not show up in tests or scans. Trying to measure and track a patient’s pulse, respiration, and weight creates too many false positives.

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

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

But getting patients to recite six sentences a day on their smartphones is easy, effective and accurate. That daily audio file is enough to tell you if something is wrong with the algorithm.

Our lungs push air through the larynx, which is where the entire speech process begins, so any irregularities there will affect how you speak, even if you can’t actually hear them.

“What we’re doing is called low-level audio processing, and we’re looking at very small changes in the lungs,” says Tal.

Doctors can review the patient’s daily audio files.courtesy

“It’s like a sensor in your car engine that turns on the dashboard lights when excess fluid starts to build up.”

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

Professor Ilan Shallom, who worked at AudioCodes, one of the world’s largest audio processing companies, developed real-time speech and voice analysis to detect premature fluid build-up.

His research allows HearO to pick up sound changes from the vocal tract that are too subtle for the human ear to distinguish.

Siri and Alexa analyze and understand human speech, but HearO is a more advanced voice technology.

The patient records a baseline voice sample while well, and the algorithm compares it to the daily sound files sent by the device.

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

It made the correct diagnosis in 82% of cases, whereas only 10-20% is achieved by monitoring the patient’s weight.

HearO is intended for patients who 20 years ago would have died from heart attacks and other heart conditions, but now lives are routinely saved using minimally invasive techniques. Despite this, their hearts are traumatized and not functioning properly.

HearO is intended for patients who would have died of heart attacks and other heart conditions 20 years ago and are now routinely saved. Courtesy of Tumisu on Pixabay

In a healthy heart, blood stays in a closed loop system. However, when the heart fails, fluids (plasma, water, blood) can begin to build up in the body and eventually start filling the lungs.

It usually takes 3 weeks to 1 month for patients to start feeling symptoms. By then it will be too late and you may already be quite seriously ill.

Even if a patient is hospitalized, the world’s best MRI machines can’t detect or image bodily fluids, says Tal.

“So that’s why there’s no gold standard for heart failure. You can’t tell when someone is deteriorating just from doctor’s care, laboratory tests, and his condition.

“Right now there is no test that can show that it is happening. No matter, another blood test, not an imaging device, nothing at all.

“People are reluctant to use medical devices designed for home use. They are primarily designed for clinical efficacy, not user well-being. I am very happy to use the

HearO will undergo two patient trials in Israel next year and is approved for sale in Spain, the UK and Germany in early 2023.

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