Project Lead(s): Mirko Zimic
Pneumonia is the world’s leading cause of child mortality, with an estimated 1.4 million deaths annually in children under five.
Pneumonia is usually diagnosed based on x-ray images and laboratory/clinical examination taken by trained medical professionals, who are scarce in rural communities in Peru.
The study team evaluated and tested three ultrasound systems, Ultrasonix, Interson and Sonosite, for the diagnosis of pneumonia in children in Peru.
The system selected was the portable and affordable Interson ultrasound probe, which allowed the modification of programming codes to link the control of the probe with an algorithm of pattern recognition.
The system was intended for use by a non-expert technician in low-resource settings, where no specialized healthcare is available.
This system was tested with images obtained from children with pneumonia at the Hospital del Niño, as part of an existing, larger study of pneumonia in children at the same hospital.
The portable Interson ultrasound probe, connected to a laptop and with an ad-hoc pattern recognition algorithm, showed 98% sensitivity and 99% specificity to detect images associated with pneumonia.
While the Interson probe is currently being used with a Windows-based laptop, it is hoped that a more portable operating system using iOS or Android will become available, to allow the device to be used on a tablet or smartphone.
The research team plans to validate the Interson-based system in the field by performing pneumonia diagnostics in rural areas with non-medical experts but trained technicians in the use of this system. They are also considering applying for Transition To Scale (TTS) funding.
Because the Sonosite system actually provides much better images than the Interson system (at a much higher price), the team hopes Sonosite will produce a prototype to allow them to extract images in real time with open-source code. They plan to evaluate the Sonosite images database of pneumonia ultrasound videos obtained from children diagnosed with pneumonia from the Hospital del Niño.