Project Lead(s): Israel Amirav
Acute respiratory infections are a leading cause of child mortality in low-resource settings. Pneumonia is responsible for the death of 900,000 children under the age of five in developing countries.
Measuring vital-signs, such as respiratory rate (RR), is important in detecting and diagnosing pneumonia. Early diagnosis and treatment by community health workers (CHWs) can significantly reduce mortality.
The ‘Multimometer’ was developed to address the feasibility of producing and using a thermometer-like device which measures a number of vital-signs during one 30 second reading.
The project compared the accuracy of the Multimometer’s RR measurements with 2 other forms of vital-sign measurement: (a) observation/counting and (b) capnography.
Data was collected from testing on both children and adults.
The attempt to measure RR by observation proved difficult. However, results using capnography were accurate and unambiguous and were thus used as the comparison for the Multimometer’s results. Sinusoidal respiration wave-forms were detected and analyzed by the Multimometer. The Multimometer RR results had a positive correlation with the capnography measurements, displaying the accuracy of its measurements.
The study found that the placement of airflow sensors is a critical factor in producing a high quality sinusoidal waveform from which the RR can be calculated.
Surprisingly, children under 2 were resistant to the temperature probe despite its pacifier style. This is an area of refinement for the team moving forward into the next trials.
Further trials will continue to assess the accuracy of the Multimometer and its ergonomic acceptability to ensure CHWs can easily use the device. The University of Alberta, with technical support from RespiDx, will continue this testing work.
The project is currently working with Living Goods, an NGO that specializes in providing services to low-resource areas using a network of CHWs, while building a sustainable business model. Together, they are working towards a joint application for a grant offered in conjunction by USAID and the Gates Foundation.