Inexpensive, Patient-Friendly Device for Accurately Measuring Swallowing Irregularities

Technology #13402

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Researchers
Michael A. Crary
Giselle D. Carnaby-Mann
Managed By
Zahara M. Jaffer
Assistant Director 352-392-8929
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending US-2013-0245499-A1

This device and software accurately measures dysphagia, swallowing difficulty, in stroke patients and others prone to this problem. According to the American Heart Association, approximately 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke each year. Of these, nearly 65 percent also have dysphagia. This is significant because dysphagia, especially when not promptly detected, increases the risk of malnutrition and pneumonia, which are connected to increased mortality. Early detection of dysphagia decreases morbidity and mortality. Despite the clear indications of the significance of this condition, few attempts have been made to develop an effective and inexpensive method to accurately and promptly detect dysphagia in the acute phase of stroke. University of Florida researchers have designed an inexpensive device and software that uses sound to tell when a patient has swallowed.

Application

An inexpensive, patient-friendly neck patch that wirelessly communicates to accompanying computer software to identify and calculate swallow frequency

Advantages

  • Provides physicians with the first-of-its-kind capability to accurately detect and measure dysphagia, providing unique competitive market advantage
  • Provides early prognosis of symptoms so early treatment can minimize complications
  • Small, wireless and easy to apply, rendering the product extremely patient friendly
  • Wireless capability reduces the chance of accidental damage to the equipment by patients or staff
  • Uses simple components, making the device inexpensive to manufacture

Technology

Using wireless acoustic technology, researchers at the University of Florida have developed a patch-like device that unobtrusively adheres to the neck of the patient and wirelessly communicates with accompanying computer software to identify and calculate swallow frequency. The technology measures audio waveforms from the surface of a patient’s neck to analyze swallowing frequency and patterns. This data can help the user determine, at an early stage, whether a patient has dysphagia.