Mobile device can “see” fluids in the lungs


This device, created under the Medicare project, will allow the verification of fluids through the measurement of thoracic bioimpedance, Lusa told the researcher at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) José Alves, and he is the main responsible for the work.

This measurement is carried out by applying a low intensity electric current to the patient’s body – so as not to damage his tissues -, and then the resulting electrical response, and the electrical voltage, is measured.

“From the measurement of this response it is possible to estimate the resistance offered by the organism, that is, its bioimpedance”, explained the researcher.
Thus, when fluid accumulation occurs, as these have a lower bioimpedance, the measured values suffer a decrease, he added.

This measuring device shall use four electrodes, placed in specific positions on the patient’s body, which shall collect the bio-impedance data.

In turn, this data will be sent to a mobile application, already partially developed, that will process them, giving information on the history of the estimates of the accumulated volume of fluids and on the changes, that may have appeared in recent days.

Heart failure “is one of the major causes of hospitalization in the European Union and the United States in people over 65 years of age, and is associated with high hospital costs,” said the researcher.

Since the accumulation of fluids in the lungs is one of the main signs of serious deterioration of health in these patients, their early detection will allow to readjust the medication and help in an initial diagnosis of the disease, thus avoiding potential hospitalizations.

This device will then be integrated into the European project SmartBEAT, whose main objective is the early detection of signs and symptoms associated with heart failure. Medicare is one of 14 projects created by students from different colleges with the support of the Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS research center, based in Porto, as part of an annual initiative that allows them to develop their work.

This project, now under the responsibility of José Alves, is supervised by Filipe Sousa, from Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, and by Professor Miguel Velhote Correia, from FEUP, and was initiated by researcher Ricardo Silva, from the same faculty.