Hawaii Patent of the Month – February 2022

Researchers at the University of Hawaii have developed a lung water content measurement system. Lung water content is one of many vitals measured throughout healthcare. This measurement can be used to reliably detect heart failure in early stages.  

This cardio-pulmonary microwave stethoscope measures lung water content using two microwave sensors. The device is placed on the patient’s chest and begins taking integrated vital signs and the lung water content. A series of sensors transmit microwave signals through the skin and tissues of the thorax. A second sensor receives the scattered signals that have passed through the heart-lung location. These returned, scattered signals are then analyzed for their frequencies. The change between the sent and received signals is compared, evaluating the refractions and scatter patterns to calculate the volume of water within the lungs. Of course, the analysis is quite complex. It adjusts for the precise positioning of the device over the thorax as well as variation from patient to patient. 

Tracking the change in water content over time can help aid treatment to prevent hypotension conditions, traumas, or fatalities. Advancements like this help to better detect and diagnose potential health issues at earlier stages. They also help to track if a treatment is working or if modification may be needed. 

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