What is AUSCULTO?
AUSCULTO produces a patent-pending medical device for monitoring arteriovenous fistulas (AVF) in patients beginning in hemodialysis treatment. The medical patch monitors the sound produced by bloodflow in the AVF and automatically notify the patient and healthcare personnel at the hospital in case of dysfunction of the AVF.
The medical patch can ease the already heavily burdened patients from the responsibility of monitoring own health, a task many feel uneasy about performing themselves. The solution will potentially result in significantly fewer chronic damages for about 180.000 patients a year with end-stage renal disease in Europe and USA.
What is the problem?
AUSCULTO works with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients beginning in hemodialysis treatment. In order to enable the vital hemodialysis treatment the patients need an access point to the vascular system.
This is achieved through surgically constructing an arteriovenous fistula (AVF), a shortcut from an artery to a vein. When the AVF is constructed the high blood pressure from the artery flows to the low pressure in the vein, putting stress on the walls of the vein. This causes the vein walls to thicken and increase the speed of blood flow. When the AVF has matured in a matter of 1-2 months it is ready for dialysis treatment.
It is in the timespan of maturation the problem arises. Up to 50% of patients experience dysfunction of their AVF after construction. If a dysfunction is left unnoticed the AVF will be permanently damaged and the patient will need a new one.
The main reason for unnoticed dysfunctions is the method of monitoring. Currently, it is the patients’ own responsibility to monitor the condition of their own AVF with a stethoscope. This is a difficult and burdensome task, and many patients feel uneasy about this responsibility.
What is the solution?
Our solution to the problem of monitoring is producing a medical patch like sensor that can perform the monitoring of the AVF without involving the patient. This removes both a burden and responsibility from the already heavily burdened patients, and in turn secures a regular autonomous monitoring of the AVF. In case of dysfunction the healthcare personnel at the hospital will be notified of the faulty AVF and can contact the patient to call them in for further assessment.
Sound produced at a functioning AVF
(Headphones might be necessary to clearly hear the difference)
Sound produced at a non-functioning AVF
How is this possible?
The medical patch records the sound produced by the blood flow through the AVF. This is the same sound a physician will listen for with a stethoscope when assessing the health of the AVF at the hospital.
The sound recordings are transmitted to a cloud computer where the recordings are analyzed by an advanced machine learning algorithm. The algorithm can recognize if the AVF is functional or not by the sound of the blood flow in the AVF. In case of dysfunction an alarm is sent to the healthcare personnel at the hospital which will call the patient in for assessment, resulting in the AVF being saved.