HealthDay News — An automated cough sound analyzer can serve as a diagnostic aid in the assessment of pediatric respiratory disorders, according to a study published online June 6 in Respiratory Research.

Paul Porter, M.B.B.S., from the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine at Curtin University in Bentley, Australia, and colleagues presented the results of a diagnostic accuracy study using an automated cough sound analyzer for pediatric respiratory disease. Cough sounds were recorded in typical clinical environments. The first five cough sounds and up to five-symptom input derived from patient/parent-reported history were used in analyses. After review of hospital charts and all available investigations, comparison was made between the automated cough analyzer diagnoses and consensus clinical diagnoses reached by a panel of pediatricians.

The analyses included 585 individuals aged 29 days to 12 years. The researchers found that for the automated analyzer and clinical reference, the positive percent and negative percent agreement values were, respectively, 97 and 91 percent for asthma, 87 and 85 percent for pneumonia, 83 and 82 percent for lower respiratory tract disease, 85 and 82 percent for croup, and 84 and 81 percent for bronchiolitis.

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“As the tool does not rely on clinical investigations, it can be used by health care providers of all levels of training and expertise,” Porter said in a statement. “However, we would advise that where possible the tool should be used in conjunction with a clinician to maximize the clinical accuracy.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to ResApp Health, which partially funded the study and is commercializing the technology under license.

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