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Whisper® Electronic Stethoscope Predicts The Presence Of Histopathologic Lung Lesion Characteristics In Bovine Respiratory Disease Complex Diagnosed Cattle.

Note: The following content is a brief summary derived from our study, Histopathology Whisper® Proof-Of-Concept.

Geissler Corporation has developed a noninvasive technology to be used as a point-of-care diagnostic tool for the assessment of animal lung health. The foundation of this technology is based on the ability to replicate through digitization algorithms, the clinical acumen of industry expert veterinarian auscultators. The technology uses a specialized proprietary electronic stethoscope and a digitized sound analytical algorithm software product. The patented product is registered as Whisper®. The results of this study indicate that Whisper® is able to predict at a statistically significant level five characteristics of histopathologic lung lesions when tested on cattle suspected of having Bovine Respiratory Disease Complex (BRDC).

Background
Feedlot cattle with BRDC account for an estimated 57% of total feedlot mortality(A) and have an industry wide impact approaching $1 billion dollars(B) annually. Woolums et al. (2005) found BRDC to be the number one cause of morbidity and mortality in feedlots. Lung lesions are commonly found at harvest and are estimated to have a prevalence of 29.7% to 77%.(C,F) Lung lesions at harvest from cattle treated for BRDC have been associated with reduced hot carcass weight, reduced average daily gain and lower marbling scores.(D,E) BRDC is often missed. Research suggests that 50% or more of animals at slaughter with gross lung lesions have never been diagnosed with BRDC.(C) Early identification and early treatment of BRDC cattle is the mainstay of the current disease management strategies. Identification of sick cattle is a major challenge for feedlots and the success of identifying sick animals directly impacts the economics of the feedlot business as well as the welfare of the cattle or herd. This identification process would benefit from new technologies that offer an accurate diagnosis of lung health and an economically feasible disease management strategy for BRDC. This study’s objective is to determine the predictive performance of Whisper® on 10 different histopathologic lung lesions associated with BRDC using computerized auscultation technology.

Lung Score
A metric for Lung Health DeDonder et al. have described a lung auscultation scoring system that correlates strongly with severity of lung disease. This system was shown to have statistically significant predictability for: lung lesions at slaughter, risk of retreatment for BRDC and mortality risk from BRDC. The lung score system requires that feedlot personnel doing the lung scoring be well trained in clinical auscultation. The Whisper® technology was developed to meet the needs for a lung health diagnostic tool that wouldn’t require the user to be an expert clinical auscultator. Whisper® was created by researching and modeling the scoring of lung sounds by industry expert veterinarian auscultators. Whisper® uses a 1 to 5 lung severity scale with ‘1’ representing normal lung health and ‘5’ representing a diagnosis of chronic severe lung disease.

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The Sensitivity and Specificity of Whisper®

Note: The following content is a brief excerpt from our study, The Sensitivity and Specificity of Whisper®.

Sensitivity and specificity are important measures of any diagnostic or screening test. Whisper’s method of lung disease detection represents a novel approach in the animal feedlot industry. The uniqueness of this disease management approach raises the issue of how best to evaluate a technology that doesn’t have a historical presence or a methodologically comparable product or device. Whisper® is charting new territory in disease management strategy and ultimately in feedlot practice culture. Defining success metrics is paramount to having meaningful dialogue on how well Whisper® is performing. By determining the best measures to assess Whisper’s sensitivities and specificities, we will gain a reference point to begin new discussions and advance our understanding of Whisper’s impact in the industry.

Whisper® and Acoustic Signatures
Whisper® incorporates recorded auscultation sounds into a digitized computer analysis algorithm to determine disease status – giving both qualitative and quantitative results indicators. Whisper® makes its assessment solely on the basis of lung sounds. In other words, it can detect the acoustic signature of disease when auscultation reveals lung sounds that are pathognomonic for lung disease. For the purpose of these discussions we will limit the context to the categories of either the ‘presence’ or ‘absence’ of lung disease and not involve severity level assessments.

Sensitivity
The sensitivity of a diagnostic test is determined by how well the test identifies all cases where a disease or condition is present. The sensitivity of Whisper® is addressing the following question: Can Whisper® identify all animals that have an acoustic signature of lung disease? The concern is: will Whisper® misdiagnose any sick animals as healthy?

Read the entire study by clicking here.

Whisper® – Why Auscultate?

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Auscultation is a 30% – 46% Mortality Rate Reduction
A comprehensive review of this data reveals that auscultating pulled animals is associated with lower mortality rates. Animals from the entire PAC population since 2010 that were auscultated had an overall mortality rate of 7.87% while those not auscultated had a mortality rate of 12.79%. This represents a 34% mortality rate reduction.

Using these statistics; 1 respiratory disease feed yard animal is saved for every 20.3 animals auscultated.

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Introduction to Whisper® by Watson IBM