The assignee for this patent, patent number 8506501, is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to ambulatory health monitoring and, more particularly, to lightweight wheeze detection methods and systems designed to improve portable respiratory health monitoring devices.
"Wheeze monitoring is an important aspect of chronic respiratory disease management, such as asthma management. Wheezes are adventitious lung sounds that are superimposed on normal breath sounds and indicate constricted breathing. A wheeze is generally characterized by a high pitch sound lasting a predetermined duration, and can be detected by evaluating time and frequency components of a respiratory signal.
"In conventional wheeze monitoring, a complete short-time Fourier transform (STFT) image is calculated to detect wheezes in a respiratory signal. The complete STFT image provides a two-dimensional representation of the amplitude of the respiratory signal for all data points in a time and frequency domain according to the well-known formula
".times..function..ident..function..tau..omega..intg..infin..infin..times.- .function..times..function..tau..times.e.times..times..omega..times..times- ..times.d ##EQU00001## where w(t) is the window function, x(t) is the signal to be transformed and X(.tau.,.omega.) is the Fourier transform of x(t)w(t-.tau.), a complex function representing the phase and magnitude of the signal over time and frequency. Wheezes can be detected from evaluation of selected data points in the complete STFT image.
"Conventional wheeze monitoring is not well-suited for portable respiratory health monitoring devices that continually acquire and evaluate a respiratory signal as a person wearing the system goes about his or her daily life. Such devices have limited computing resources, and calculating a complete STFT image to detect wheezes often consumes an unacceptably large share those scarce resources."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "The present invention provides lightweight wheeze detection methods and systems for portable respiratory health monitoring devices. The invention conserves computing resources in portable respiratory health monitoring devices by employing a lightweight algorithm that calculates a partial STFT image of a respiratory signal that includes all data points that are necessary for wheeze detection but excludes many data points that are unnecessary for wheeze detection. The methods and systems provide substantial savings in computing resources while still ensuring every wheeze in a respiratory signal is detected.
"In one aspect of the invention, a lightweight wheeze detection method comprises the steps of receiving by a respiratory data processing system a respiratory signal; calculating by the processing system noncontiguous lines of a STFT image of the respiratory signal until a start line conforming to one or more wheeze peak criteria is identified; once a start line conforming to the wheeze peak criteria is identified, calculating by the processing system contiguous lines of the STFT image preceding the start line and contiguous lines of the STFT image following the start line until both a preceding line and a following line not conforming to the wheeze peak criteria are identified; and, once both a preceding line and a following line not conforming to the wheeze peak criteria are identified, determining by the processing system using a total count of calculated lines of the STFT image conforming to the wheeze peak criteria whether a duration of a peak conforms to one or more wheeze duration criteria.
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