“Smart Stethoscope” to monitor kidney stone therapy

Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy machineScientists have developed “smart stethoscope” that could help to monitor the progress and effectiveness of the kidney stone therapy.

This research has been done by researchers from the University of Southampton and their collaborators, and has been published online in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

One of the favored procedures for the removal of kidney stones is lithotripsy. It is the medical fragmentation of a stone in the urinary system or gallbladder with the help of ultrasound shock waves, so that the pieces of stone could easily pass out of the body through urine or dissolved by drug. However, the difficulty occurs in the process of checking the stones in the body i.e. whether the stones broke and procedure has been completed or not.

With the help of this new “smart stethoscope” physicians could check whether the treatment for kidney stones work or not. This stethoscope is placed on the patient’s skin after shock wave treatment for kidney stones and it listens to the echoes reverberating around the body after the shock wave hits the stone.

Researchers wrote, “The device analyses, in real time, the pressure fields detected by sensors placed on the patient’s torso, fields generated by the interaction of the incident shock wave, cavitation, kidney stone and soft tissue.”

This stethoscope is used in London hospitals of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust (GSTT).


Leighton, T., Turangan, C., Jamaluddin, A., Ball, G., & White, P. (2012). Prediction of far-field acoustic emissions from cavitation clouds during shock wave lithotripsy for development of a clinical device Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 469 (2150), 20120538-20120538 DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2012.0538


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