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Med Biol Eng Comput. 2002 Sep;40(5):520-5.

Pneumothorax detection using pulmonary acoustic transmission measurements.

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Biomedical Acoustics Research Group, Department of Pediatrics, Rush Medical College, Chicago, USA.


Pneumothorax is a common clinical condition that can be life threatening. The current standard of diagnosis includes radiographic procedures that can be costly and may not always be readily available or reliable. The objective of this study was to investigate the hypothesis that pneumothorax causes detectable pathognomonic changes in pulmonary acoustic transmission. An animal model was developed whereby 15 mongrel dogs were anaesthetised, intubated and mechanically ventilated. A thoracoscopic trocar was placed into the pleural space for the introduction of air and confirmation of a approximately 30% pneumothorax by direct visualisation. Broadband acoustic signals were introduced into the endotracheal tube, while transmitted waves were measured at the chest surface. Pneumothorax was found consistently to lower the pulmonary acoustic transmission in the 200-1200 Hz frequency band, whereas smaller transmission changes occurred at lower frequencies (p< 0.0001, sign test). The ratio of acoustic energy between low-(< 220 Hz) and high-(550-770 Hz) frequency bands was significantly different in the control and pneumothorax states (p < 0.0001, sign test). This implies that pneumothoraces can be reliably detected using pulmonary acoustic transmission measurements in the current animal model. Further studies are needed to investigate the feasibility of using this technique in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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