How to Use War Tech to Detect Fluid in Lungs
Detecting signs of fluid in lungs is a good way to prevent heart failure. More about that later.
This post is dedicated to my friend, Lucy, a fellow runner who lost her father to heart failure. Though she likes running in the sun, Lucy is a woman who often says she misses the rain because it reminds her of her father. Sometimes just for the hell of it she’ll run in the rain when she has the urge to feel close to her father.
“My father was good, like the rain,” she told me the first time I saw her staring at the sky as rain drops came down.
“What do you mean?” I asked her.
“When I was a child, I walked in the forest with my dad. Oh mom would get so mad, thinking the whole thing was foolish. But it wasn’t. It was beautiful. The rain washed the dull grass shiny green and the brilliance of the green grass seemed to make the forest, well, a sort of heaven of flowers. Life was perfect and I looked at the sky and thanked it for the rain. Rain that danced for the soil.”
A few days ago Lucy invited me for coffee at the local Starbucks. An avid reader, she had some exciting news to share with me about a new technology that promised to cut down the rate of readmissions to hospitals.
Here is The Gist of Where We Are With Readmissions
Readmission to the hospital is a growing problem for people with congestive heart problems, and this has a devastating impact on the quality of life. Put more specifically, people who suffer from heart failure often accumulate fluid in their lungs. So it would be extremely useful if there was an easy way for people to detect signs of fluid in lungs. Dr. Scott Feitell director of Heart Failure at the Sands-Constellation Heart Institute, put it this way:
“… a lot of times physical examinations miss that. It’s one of the biggest causes of readmission, and patients don’t tend to live as long if they keep returning.” 
Fortunately, however, people diagnosed with heart failure don’t have to suffer from the financial blow and devastating psychological set back of re-hospitalization once they know how to proactively monitor for fluid changes in their lungs. Imagine putting on a vest, laying back, hitting a button, and letting the vest take measurements at the convenience of your home.
This is What You’ll Learn About in This Post
Specifically, you’ll learn how a Hi-tech vest may help keep heart failure patients out of the hospital. You’ll also find out how this technology once used by the military to find bodies buried in rubbles of collapsed buildings has beed adapted to find fluid in lungs.  And you’ll even discover how it can do this in a non-invasive way.
So, without further introduction, let’s jump in with a discussion of the new device that’s bringing military tech to heart health.
A New Hope to Lessen Heart Failure
An article on July 8 of this year, published by Obesity, Fitness &Wellness Week stated that doctors at The Ohio State University Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital were testing a high-tech vest which “measures fluid inside the lungs from outside a person’s clothing. It could be a new way to prevent repeated trips to the hospital for nearly six million Americans living with heart failure” 
Seeing Through Walls of Buildings
The SensiVest, created by Sensible Medical, uses radar technology that was first utilized by the military and rescue teams to see through walls and rubble in collapsed buildings. In fact the Israeli military used it find bodies buried in rubble.
See Through Walls Of The Chest
The Technology works in the same way. Instead of looking for bodies buried in buildings, it looks for fluid in the lungs. Dr. William Abraham, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, explains it this way: “Now the technology has been miniaturized and put into a form that allows the radar to go through the chest wall and get an accurate measurement of water inside the lungs”. 
The problem with heart failure , as Dr. Abraham points out, is that the heart isn’t strong enough to keep up with the body’s needs and fluids stays in the lungs. Too much fluid makes it hard to breathe.” 
Up to now standard way for people to monitor fluids in lungs was for patient to weigh themselves daily and report symptoms such as swelling or shortness of breath. By then, the situation most likely worsened and required hospitalization.
The Patient Friendly Tech
In summarizing the benefits of ReDS technology, Sensible Medical makes the following points.
- Remote monitoring—lung fluid may be monitored regularly at home.
- Non-invasive system—worn over patient’s clothes.
- Fast—measurement take only 90 seconds
- Absolute measurement—requires no benchmark or historical data to evaluate
- Shown in an economic clinical study to reduce hospital readmissions by 87%
Now two years out from FDA approval, the vest is working its way through patient trials. Rochester General Hospital is the first hospital in upstate New York, and one of the first community hospitals, to get their hands on it. That said, I think this is another exciting development in how technology is being employed to help people better protect the health of loved ones.
So far, here are some of the related news covered in past posts:
WiGait—Invented by researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory ( CSAIL), and led by Professor Dina Katabi , It ’s a device capable of measuring the walking speed of several individuals using wireless signals. It can prevent falling
Game that fosters empathy for pain sufferers—In the game, participants interact with their altered virtual body — a silhouette they see in a virtual mirror — and complete object-oriented motor tasks. Then, using their whole body, they reach out to connect dots into a line which forms a meaningful shape related to a chronic pain experience
I look forward to reporting more exciting news on how technology is helping us become healthier and safer.
As for Lucy, ever wonder what happened to her? A few weeks after our conversation about her dad and the rain, I wrote the lyrics to a song called “The Girl Who Missed The Rain”. Soon after that, I had a demo made and gave a copy of the tune to Lucy. She cried but I think those were happy tears. Do you have a loved one who is going or has gone re-hospitalization?
I like to hear from the readers so please leave me a comment below to let me know if this post helped you or if you have any questions.
- Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week. (July 8, 2017): p550.