Background: Tension pneumothorax is one of the leading causes of preventable death on the battlefield. Current prehospital diagnosis relies on a subjective clinical impression complemented by a manual thoracic and respiratory examination. These techniques are not fully applicable in field conditions and on the battlefield, where situational and environmental factors may impair clinical capabilities. We aimed to assemble a device able to sample, analyze, and classify the unique acoustic signatures of pneumothorax and hemothorax. Methods: Acoustic data was obtained with simultaneous use of two sensitive digital stethoscopes from the chest wall of an ex-vivo porcine model. Twelve second samples of acoustic data were obtained from the in-house assembled digital stethoscope system during mechanical ventilation. The thoracic cavity was injected with increasing volumes of 200, 400, 600, 800, and 1000 ml of air or saline to simulate pneumothorax and hemothorax, respectively. The data was analyzed using a multi-objective genetic algorithm that was used to develop an optimal mathematical detector through the process of artificial evolution, a cutting-edge approach in the artificial intelligence discipline. Results: The in-house assembled dual digital stethoscope system and developed genetic algorithm achieved an accuracy, sensitivity and specificity ranging from 64 to 100%, 63 to 100%, and 63 to 100%, respectively, in classifying acoustic signal as associated with pneumothorax or hemothorax at fluid injection levels of 400 ml or more, and regardless of background noise. Conclusions: We present a novel, objective device for rapid diagnosis of potentially lethal thoracic injuries. With further optimization, such a device could provide real-time detection and monitoring of pneumothorax and hemothorax in battlefield conditions.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).
- Artificial evolution
- Machine learning