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How to Use War Tech to Detect fluid in Lungs

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.

Tips on running across the water
Running Across the water

“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.

Tips on rain dripping down the window
Rain dripping down the window

“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.”

Tips on rain dripping on the grass
Rain dripping on the grass


Tips on rain dripping on flower
Rain dripping on flower

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.” [1]

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. [2] 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” [3]

Seeing Through Walls of Buildings

tips on seeing through walls of a building
Seeing through walls of building

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

Tips on seeing through walls of chest
Seeing through walls of 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”. [4]

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.” [5]

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

Tips on non invasive technology
Non invasive technology


Tips on technology that you can use while you sleep
Technology you can use while you sleep

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

tips on measuring walking speed with wireless device
Measuring walking speed with wireless device

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

Tips on how to see someone's pain
How to see someone’s pain

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?

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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.


  3.  Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week. (July 8, 2017): p550.
  4. Ibid
  5. Ibid




12 thoughts on “How to Use War Tech to Detect fluid in Lungs

  1. Excellent post that shows the anguish of loved ones facing the re-hospitalization nightmare. Thank you for bringing this issue to the light. First, let me say the story of Lucy was very moving. At first I didn’t know where you where going with it, but you effectively tied the story to the topic and brilliantly made us care about the issue of heart failure and readmissions to the hospital. You clearly have a talent for story telling. Your post was both informative and engaging.
    As for my own story, I have seen my dad frustrated after being re-hospitailized 2 times for fluid in his lungs. The problem, as you point out, is that often this condition leads to trouble with breathing by the time it’s detected by normal methods. If this ReDS technology can help someone detect symptoms of fluid in the lungs at an earlier stage, I’m all for it.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Thank you so much for the kind words. Yes, Lucy is a very special person and an inspiration. When she told me about her dad, I could see the impact it had on her. I had to tell her story and many like her who have to face the gut wrenching issue of watching a loved on being re-hospitalized for heart failure. I am fascinated that a technology that was once used to see through the walls of buildings to recover bodies buried in rubble is now used to see through the walls of the chest to find fluid in the lungs.

  2. Your post touched my heart. I think you managed to artfully tell a beautiful story of friendship while also exploring an important medical issue that impacts many lives. Readmission to the hospital is something that puts more stress on someone suffering from a heart condition. I am all for anything that can reduce the chances of a repeated heart attack. I will tell my friends about this post. It’s important to get the word out. Good job. Say hi to Lucy.

    1. Hi Jamie,
      Lucy is a very special human being who has taught me a lot about appreciating nature and standing up to adversity. I will convey your kind words next time I see her. As for the issue of readmission to the hospital for heart patients, I couldn’t agree with you more. I think it takes a tremendous toil on someone’s psychological and physical health whenever they find themselves in the position where they have to be re-hospitalized.

  3. Thabo I loved your site! Sharing real stories is one of the best ways to promote anything. Because I’ve felt connected to your site in many ways. I pray for you mom’s healing, and she’s blessed to have a son like you who is going after something he’s passionate about.  Helping people heal and have their best health back. Well Done! God bless

    1. Hi Zahra,

      I am happy that you were able to feel a connection to the story and the issue on my site. I think that it’s important, whenever we can, to show how people  are affected by the issues we bloggers talk about. I also appreciate your kind words. God bless you also.

  4. A very timely post. I had a grandmother who was recently readmitted to the hospital, and it was very stressful for the family. Thank you for using your love and empathy for an ailing mother to help the rest of us.

    1. Hi Louis,

      Yes,unfortunately, this is a timely topic. About 20 percent of older adults are readmitted to the hospital within in a month of their initial discharge, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine. As you can imagine, this is not only a very stressful situation, but it can also be costly as the bills pile up. This is why I think this new health technology is great news because it reduces the rate of readmissions.

  5. Your story was an effective introduction. You really know how to hook your readers and make them care about your topic. I obviously don’t know Lucy, but she sounds awesome and I’m glad you two seem to inspire each other. Wonderful! As for the topic of readmission, oh God what a nightmare for so many elderly parents and relatives. An aunt of mine suffering from respiratory problems keeps going in and out of the hospital. I think a big problem is that once she’s home, she’s unable to detect if something is going on with her lungs until it sneaks on her and then has to be rushed to the hospital. Sounds like this new technology can act as a sort of early warning system and give those suffering from a heart problem a chance to do something to avoid a visit to the hospital. What do you think?

    1. Yes Penelope,
      Lucy is awesome. She seems to be getting a quite a few fans, and I’m sure she appreciates the kind words. As for the topic of readmissions to the hospital, I have to agree with you that the thought of a loved one constantly having to be re-hospitalized is a nightmare. It’s not only stressful but can also a financial drain. This is why I hope this incrediable technology, that was once used for war to find bodies in collapsed buildings, can continue to do the good work of detecting fluid in the lungs. This way more people can become proactive in keeping themselves from being re-hospitalized.

  6. Seriously, the way you put up your posts here never seizes to amaze me. wonderfully and informatively put together. And one of the things I love most about the site is how you share true-life stories in the bid to help many others out there. I am glad I found this site. It has not only improved my life but has also contributed to the well-being of many friends alike.
    Pls say hi to Lucy for me and I’m sure she will be proud having you as her friend.

    1. Hi Rebecca,
      It’s always exciting when you can show, as a blogger, how something like war technology is reimagined as health technology. I’m glad you enjoyed the story of my awesome and inspiring friend Lucy. Her bravery and resilience when dealing with setbacks is remarkable and a great lesson to us all that nothing is ever totally lost. If we dig deep within our selves we can something that will renew our hope in the future and give thanks to happy memories.

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