Many patients diagnosed with Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) experience shortness of breath, leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome. Doctors use stethoscope to listen to chest sounds such as wheezing and crackles that appear with the progress of the disease. This however, poses a risk to doctors, as evident from the rising infections reported among healthcare professionals handling COVID patients.
A digital stethoscope called AyuSynk developed by IIT Bombay Start-up Company Ayu Devices is being deployed for remote auscultation (listening to chest sounds). The device allows storing the auscultated sound as part of the health record of the patient and sharing with other doctors for confirmatory opinion.
Dr. Sudip Pandit, a paediatrician from Karnataka who recently purchased the digital stethoscope during PEDICON conference in January 2020, says, “the device is very good and much clearer than a regular stethoscope. I am using it to screen patients with Corona virus.”
Since the COVID outbreak, several digital stethoscopes have been delivered to KEM Hospital in Mumbai by Ayu Devices team. Apollo Hospital in Hyderabad has also requested the device.
“AyuSynk can be attached to any conventional stethoscope, to amplify chest sounds and send them wirelessly from patients to doctors without physical tubing” said Adarsha K, founder of Ayu Devices. The product was developed by him and another innovator Tapas, at BETIC Lab in IIT Bombay, with clinical inputs from Dr. Nambiraj Konar at Reliance Hospital and Dr. Lancelot Pinto at PD Hinduja Hospital.
The basic version of the digital stethoscope called AyuLynk can be connected to mobile or laptop through a wire. The advanced version AyuSynk was developed in November 2019, to transmit data from the stethoscope to mobile or laptop via Bluetooth.
Dr Rupesh Ghyar, SEO of BETIC who mentored the team adds, “The device allows any healthcare professional with protective suit to approach a patient, capture lung sounds and send them for analysis to experienced doctors, thereby distributing the workload. It can help in monitoring and characterizing lung infections in severe patients of COVID.”
Over 1000 units of the digital stethoscope are currently in use across the country, many of them in primary health centres and in telemedicine companies.