Interpretation of Heart and Lungs Sounds Acquired via Remote, Digital Auscultation Reached Fair-to-Substantial Levels of Consensus among Specialist Physicians

Diana Magor, Evgeny Berkov, Dmitry Siomin, Eli Karniel, Nir Lasman, Liat Radinsky Waldman, Irina Gringauz, Shai Stern, Reut Lerner Kassif, Galia Barkai, Hadas Lewy, Gad Segal

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1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. Technological advancement may bridge gaps between long-practiced medical competencies and modern technologies. Such a domain is the application of digital stethoscopes used for physical examination in telemedicine. This study aimed to validate the level of consensus among physicians regarding the interpretation of remote, digital auscultation of heart and lung sounds. Methods. Seven specialist physicians considered both the technical quality and clinical interpretation of auscultation findings of pre-recorded heart and lung sounds of patients hospitalized in their homes. TytoCareTM system was used as a remote, digital stethoscope. Results. In total, 140 sounds (70 heart and 70 lungs) were presented to seven specialists. The level of agreement was measured using Fleiss’ Kappa (FK) variable. Agreement relating to heart sounds reached low-to-moderate consensus: the overall technical quality (FK = 0.199), rhythm regularity (FK = 0.328), presence of murmurs (FK = 0.469), appreciation of sounds as remote (FK = 0.011), and an overall diagnosis as normal or pathologic (FK = 0.304). The interpretation of some of the lung sounds reached a higher consensus: the overall technical quality (FK = 0.169), crepitus (FK = 0.514), wheezing (FK = 0.704), bronchial sounds (FK = 0.034), and an overall diagnosis as normal or pathological (FK = 0.386). Most Fleiss’ Kappa values were in the range of “fare consensus”, while in the domains of diagnosing lung crepitus and wheezing, the values increased to the “substantial” level. Conclusions. Bio signals, as recorded auscultations of the heart and lung sounds serving the process of clinical assessment of remotely situated patients, do not achieve a high enough level of agreement between specialized physicians. These findings should serve as a catalyzer for improving the process of telemedicine-attained bio-signals and their clinical interpretation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3153
JournalDiagnostics
Volume13
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - 9 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.

Keywords

  • Kapa coefficient
  • TytoCare
  • digital auscultation
  • hospital at home
  • remote auscultation
  • telemedicine

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