Coronavirus Outbreak: Digital stethoscopes to doctors' rescue

Updated: Apr 05, 2020, 07:45 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

The stethoscopes developed by an IIT-B team can remotely check a patient's chest sounds and transmit them to a phone or laptop via bluetooth

The digital stethoscope
The digital stethoscope

After facemasks, a portable sanitisation device and an app to track those flouting quarantine regulations, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay has recently come up with Ayu Devices, which works on supplying smart stethoscopes. The digital stethoscope developed by IIT-B students is used for remote auscultation (listening to chest sounds) and storing this in the records of the patient, so that it can be shared with other doctors.

Since the Coronavirus outbreak, several digital stethoscopes have been delivered to KEM Hospital by the Ayu Devices team. Apollo Hospital in Hyderabad has also asked for the device.

Many patients diagnosed with the disease experience shortness of breath, leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome. To check the health of the respiratory system and listen to chest sounds, doctors use stethoscopes. This, however, has been posing a risk to doctors with the rising infections reported among healthcare professionals handling the patients.

Use of the smart stethoscope —AyuSynk—can help doctors test their patients with minimal physical contact. While the basic version of the digital stethoscope can be connected to a mobile or laptop through a wire, the advanced version can transmit data from the stethoscope to a mobile or laptop via bluetooth. "AyuSynk can be attached to any conventional stethoscope to amplify chest sounds and send them wirelessly from patients to doctors without physical tubing," said Adarsha K, founder. The product was developed by him and another innovator at a lab in IIT Bombay with clinical inputs from Dr Nambiraj Konar at Reliance Hospital and Dr Lancelot Pinto at PD Hinduja Hospital.

Over 1,000 units of the digital stethoscope are currently in use across the country, many of them in primary health centres and in telemedicine companies.

Ayu Devices was developed under BETiC—the Biomedical Engineering and Technology (incubation) Centre in IIT Bombay, with satellite centres in six engineering colleges and seven medical institutes across Maharashtra. Dr Rupesh Ghyar, SEO of BETiC , who mentored the team, added, "The device allows any healthcare professional with a protective suit to approach a patient, capture lung sounds and send them for analysis to experienced doctors, thereby distributing the workload. It can help in monitoring and characterising lung infections in severe patients of COVID-19."

No. of digital stethoscopes currently in use across the country

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