Hackaday Prize Entry: Heart Failure Detection Device

Early and low-cost detection of a Heart Failure is the proposal of [Jean Pierre Le Rouzic] for his entry for the 2017 Hackaday Prize. His device is based on a low-cost Doppler device, like those fetal Doppler devices used to listen an unborn baby heart, feeding a machine learning algorithm that could differentiate between a healthy and an unhealthy heart.

The theory behind it is that a regular, healthy heart tissue has a different acoustic impedance than degenerated tissue. Based on the acoustic impedance, the device would classify the tissue as: normal, degenerated, granulated or fibrous. Each category indicates specific problems mostly in connective tissues.

There are several advantages to have a working device like the one [Rouzic] is working on. To start, it would be possible to use it at home, without the intervention of a doctor or medical staff. It seems to us that would be as easy as using a blood pressure device or a fetal Doppler. It’s also relatively cheap (estimated under 150$) and it needs no gel to work. We covered similar projects that measure different heart signals, like Open Source electrocardiography, but ECG has the downfall that it requires attaching electrodes to the body.

One interesting proposed feature is that what is learn from a single case, is sent to every devices at their next update, so the devices get ‘smarter’ as they are used. Of course, there are a lot of ways for this to go wrong, but it’s a good idea to begin with.

19 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: Heart Failure Detection Device

  1. Just an FYI. Heart failure is a clinical diagnosis because it requires the recognition of several signs and symptoms rather than just a single finding. Someone with a finding of some fibrosis or thinning in their heart does not automatically give them a diagnosis of heart failure.

    1. OMG. We’re going to have to cross-reference two or more sensors to predict a problem!

      The AMA is gonna be really pissed when doctors become outdated and can no longer corner the market on healthcare, jacking up the rates for all of us patients. They won’t be able to drive around those Porsches or Aston Martins!

      1. You are absolutely right! Ignore what the patient says and just rely on technology to make a diagnosis so one can set into motion the patient worrying and frustration.

        Doctors shouldn’t be able to get much for throwing away their prime age of 20/30s working an average of 80+ hours a week in an environment where there is a large concentration of infectious agents, everyone is high stressed, and work takes precedence over one’s own health/family. Doing all this only to go into a role where one makes life-saving decisions yet be treated similar to working in retail (I can Yelp my doctor), have wages garnished if the customer is unsatisfied (HCAHPS/Press-Ganey scores), and be easily sued for malpractice even though one has the best intentions in mind/things don’t turn out the way a patient wants. All the while people think doctors have the power to set overall healthcare costs and can prescribe any drug they want even though they are audited by organizations such as the DEA and medical board for any complaint (it only takes one single complaint to initiate an audit). Oh yeah, they also need to pay money for license renewals, continued education, and have to retake their board tests on a regular basis ($1300 per test for IM and $2300 per test for cardiovascular). All this in addition to being accused of being a paid shill for pharmaceutical companies just because one took a pen from them in order to fill out a handicap parking document for a patient that wants it because he/she is too obese and does not want to listen to the doctor’s simple advice on how to lose weight (Exercise, Calories in < Calories Burned). He/she instead buys hundreds of dollars in weight loss drugs, listens to random people on the internet, complains the doctor does not care, and in the end expects the doctor to fix all the problems instantly for a low price/free.

  2. The entry is incorrect when it says there is no remedy for heart failure.
    A lot depends on what caused the heart failure. If you can fix the cause, the heart can heal.
    (e.g. heart rhythm problems – running too fast).
    There are a number of treatments, including drugs, surgery, devices and lifestyle modifications
    (diet, etc.).

    Unexpected weight gain is also associated with heart failure.

    Unrelated aside.
    Those with heart failure need to weight themselves every day, record the weight, and possibly
    take action depending on weight changes.
    (Taking medication or informing health care provider if weight changes by so much in so long.
    Specifics of weight change, duration, action are individual.)

    Seems like something that might be made a little more convenient with a bit of technology.

    There are a lot of weight tracking apps out there, but almost none with flexible reminder
    triggers (remind you to take pill if weight goes up x lbs in 3 days, e.g.).
    They are also generally cumbersome (not designed for really quick, convenient entry EVERY DAY).
    (Admittedly I have only checked out a dozen or so of the plethora. But so far they all seem to be pretty much the same.)
    Anybody found something optimized for actual use?
    (Or anybody want to reinvent this wheel yet again, but make it rounder. ;-)

    1. I think a lot of responders are confused by the terminology, many people are mixed up by heart failure, heart attack and cardiac arrest and there are important differences!!

      http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/26/health/what-is-heart-failure-heart-attack-sudden-cardiac-arrest-explainer/ is quite a good summary of all three, but basically heart failure is when the heart is not working properly rather than when it’s suddenly damaged (heart attack) or has stopped (cardiac arrest).

      1. Good combo isn’t it? Confused and critiquing heart monitor design. Actually though, it’s good to see enthusiasm and makes a good show of the learning process, hence I approve with a shudder. And it IS hacking. We’re in good hands?

      2. Assume this reply was intended as a general reply, accidentally got linked to my post.
        Just to clarify, I was talking about heart failure, rather than heart attack or cardiac arrest.
        (The linked article is not comprehensive in list of things that can lead to heart failure.
        e.g., If the heart beats too fast it may not pump blood efficiently, over time this can result in weakening of the heart muscles and congestive heart failure.)

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