NYMC Faculty Publications

Continuous Monitoring versus Intermittent Auscultation of Wheezes in Patients Presenting With Acute Respiratory Distress

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The Journal of Emergency Medicine

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Emergency Medicine


BACKGROUND: Auscultation for an extended period of time using a wearable stethoscope enables objective computerized analysis and longitudinal assessment of lung sounds. However, this auscultation method differs from bedside auscultation in that clinicians are not present to optimize the quality of auscultation. No prior studies have compared these two auscultation methods. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare intermittent auscultation using a conventional stethoscope with continuous auscultation using a wearable stethoscope for wheeze detection in patients who present with acute respiratory distress. METHODS: Patients presenting to the emergency department with acute respiratory distress were enrolled. The Strados Remote Electronic Stethoscope Platform (RESP™) was used for continuous auscultation, and intermittent auscultation was performed using a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-cleared electronic stethoscope. A recording was made with an electronic stethoscope. Subsequently, continuous recording was made using RESP™, which continued until the patient was admitted or discharged from the emergency department. The number of captured wheezes in each recording was counted and validated by two board-certified physicians. RESULTS: From May 2018 to May 2019, 43 patients were enrolled in the study. Three patients were excluded from analysis due to incomplete audio recording data. The mean length of recording was 62.3 min for continuous auscultation and 0.7 min for intermittent auscultation; 77.5% (31 of 40) of intermittent recordings contained wheezes, in contrast to 85% (34 of 40) of continuous recordings. CONCLUSIONS: Extending the duration of auscultation using a wearable stethoscope in a noisy clinical environment showed comparable performance to standard of care intermittent auscultation in identifying patients who have wheezes.