Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition where the heart's ability to pump blood effectively is compromised. This can lead to an accumulation of fluids in the lungs and other parts of the body.
CHF affects ca 65 million people worldwide. In the United States alone, about 7 million adults suffer from CHF. The prevalence is increasing, partly due to aging populations and improved survival rates from heart disease.(ref)
Cough aka “cardiac cough” is one of the early indicators, due to fluid in the lungs and the body’s attempt to clear it
Sources: Heart Failure Society of America - HFSA Releases Scientific Statement, Cardiovascular Business - Annual heart failure costs in the US could surpass $70B by 2030, American Heart Association Journals - Out‐of‐Pocket Annual Health Expenditures, PubMed NCBI - A Systematic Review of Medical Costs Associated with Heart Failur, JMCP - Descriptive Epidemiology and Outcomes of Patients with Short Stay Hospitalizations for the Treatment of CHF in the US, AJMC - Heart Failure Population Health Considerations
Managing Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) requires continuous vigilance and proactive intervention to avoid the negative outcomes and high costs associated with deteriorations which happen fast and quickly develop into life/ death situations.
One of the key symptoms for Congestive Heart Failure patients is a consistent cough - known as “cardiac cough”, which is peculiar to CHF. Because of its consistency, monitoring the cough of patients with CHF can function as an early warning system of deteriorating cardiac health, enabling timely medical intervention.Cardiac cough arises from fluid accumulation in the lungs – a direct consequence of the heart's diminishing efficacy. This cough is a clinical "barometer", reflecting subtle changes in the patient's condition. The integration of continuous cough monitoring in the management of CHF can provide a real-time insight into the patient’s status.
Monitoring cough has been historically very hard, cumbersome and expensive to do. However, with the emergence of AI powered tools - such as Hyfe's - that run passively and continuously on wearables or even basic smartphones, continuous cough monitoring it is now not only convenient, but also cheap and easy to implement.
The deployment of cough monitoring technology in both home settings and healthcare facilities like hospitals or senior living centers marks a significant advancement in patient care.
By establishing a baseline of each patient’s cough – in terms of rate, intensity, and quality – healthcare providers can detect deviations from this norm, which often indicate an exacerbation of heart failure. AI models can be trained to detect these deviations and help doctors interpret them.
In at-home settings, cough monitoring empowers patients with a sense of control and participation in their healthcare journey. Real-time feedback on their condition fosters adherence to treatment regimens and encourages prompt reporting of symptom exacerbation.
For clinicians, this data is invaluable, offering a window into the patient’s day-to-day status, beyond the confines of periodic clinical visits. It facilitates the early identification of potentially life-threatening changes, prompting swift medical intervention that could range from medication adjustments to hospitalization.
In institutional settings - hospitals or senior living facilities - continuous cough monitoring enhances patient surveillance, especially for those at high risk of rapid health deterioration. It serves as an adjunct to regular clinical assessments, providing an unobtrusive and non-invasive means of monitoring. This continuous stream of data augments clinical decision-making, enabling healthcare providers to preemptively address emerging complications, thereby improving patient outcomes and potentially reducing hospital readmissions.
Continuous monitoring of cardiac cough in CHF patients represents a significant leap forward in patient-centered care. By allowing for the early detection of deteriorating conditions, this approach not only enhances the quality of life for patients but also optimizes healthcare resources and leads to significant savings for payers and the health system in general, by avoiding visits to the emergency room and hospitalizations and by drastically reducing the cost of treatment.
As technology advances, the potential for AI-assisted cough monitoring to become a standard element of CHF management is both exciting and promising, paving the way for more personalized and effective healthcare delivery.
Hyfe (www.hyfe.ai) builds software that detects coughing via audio analysis on phones, watches, wearables, and other devices with mics. Cough detection is fully automated, using AI algorithms trained on the sounds of coughs of tens of thousands of individuals. Since the system runs fully on-device, no audio data is sent to servers, thereby ensuring full patient privacy. By using Hyfe’s technology to detect and quantify cough, healthcare organizations seeking to roll out or improve CHF remote patient monitoring can improve outcomes and cut costs.