HAC Acoustic Technologies

Swalllowing Workstation

The Digital Swallowing Workstation (DSW) is a powerful, multi-functional system containing a robust set of features that have been integrated into one platform for dysphagia clinicians and researchers. DSW can be used to assist with virtually every aspect of patient management, from initial assessment through rehabilitation.

Comprised of three separate modules (available separately), the complete workstation offers an unparalleled assortment of capabilities using established techniques that were previously available only as multiple instruments from many vendors. The workstation, which ergonomically integrates these disparate technologies, enhances clinical efficiency and contributes to evidence-based clinical practice. To the research community, the workstation provides both sophistication and flexibility for data acquisition, analysis, time-linked physiologic and video data, as well as the ability to export quantitative information into other analysis software. No other system offers dysphagia clinicians and researchers the comprehensiveness and flexibility of DSW. Since its introduction in the mid- 1990's (originally as an analog system), the workstation has evolved into the system of choice at the leading dysphagia clinics and research institutions worldwide.

Digital Video Recording System
A Powerful Motion Video System

The Digital Video System for Swallowing (DVSS) module records modified barium, videoendoscopic (FEES), ultrasound, and other video exam studies directly to computer storage media for immediate retrieval and playback. The professional video acquisition hardware (with audio) provides excellent image clarity at full video resolution without artifacts or skipped frames. DVSS is a self-contained digital video recording system, but can also be used in conjunction with the Swallowing Signals Lab (see below); when used in combination, these modules allow digital video and physiologic data to be recorded and played back concurrently for precise, time-linked data analysis.

Immediate Exam Review

In addition to superb image quality, dysphagia clinicians can take advantage of many conveniences and timesaving features provided with digital video recording. The system is housed on a mobile cart that can be rolled to radiology or to patient bedside to record a procedure. With instant exam retrieval, the clinician can quickly analyze any segment of the exam in real time, frame by frame, or in slow motion. The most revealing still images can be selected and labeled for automatic inclusion in the software's report generator.

Simultaneous Playback of Two Exams

Two video recordings can be loaded concurrently and compared side by side. This unique feature facilitates accurate assessment and in-depth comparative analysis of patient performance over time (e.g., before and after therapy).

Exam Management System

The PENTAX system alleviates the clinician's burden of exam management with a sophisticated patient database and exam-archiving system. The most recent exam recordings reside on the system's hard drive for instant playback; older exams are archived to numbered storage media with a built-in tracking system. Regardless of when an exam was recorded, the system conveniently prompts the clinician with the appropriate storage disk to insert for exam review.

Report Generator

After the clinician has filled in appropriate database fields with key exam findings and selected the most revealing still images, the workstation generates a report as a Microsoft Word document. The system's printer can make a hard copy of the report for patient records, a referring physician, or insurance filing.

Swallowing Signals Lab
Swallowing Physiology Assessment and Visual Feedback

The Swallowing Signals Lab is both a physiologic data acquisition and visual feedback system for dysphagic patients that provides real-time displays of critical parameters related to swallowing function. It consists of a custom external module with a PC interface card and an array of measurement tools (i.e., transducers), which have been described extensively in the dysphagia professional literature. Previously available as separate, stand-alone instruments, these transducers have been integrated into a single system for swallowing.

All aspects of data sampling and signal conditioning (unique to each transducer), and the concurrent real-time display of any combination of these signals, are designed into the system. Additionally, when used in conjunction with the Digital Video System for Swallowing, these physiologic signals can be viewed and analyzed with video data (e.g., fluorographic of videoendoscopic).

Multiple Transducers Rationale

Dysphagia can have an array of contributing factors, which a clinician may wish to address in patient assessment and treatment. Clinicians and researchers have reported a variety of techniques in books and professional journals. The Swallowing Signals Lab integrates many of these key techniques based on their reported usefulness and efficacy.

The system includes surface EMG (two channels), tongue pressure transducers (two- and three-channel configurations), solid-state pharyngeal/UES manometry (up to six channels), cervical auscultation, and respiratory phase (using a nasal cannula with pressure transducer). Each of these has been included in the Swallowing Signals Lab complete with appropriate signal conditioning.

For clinicians who wish to integrate other types of physiologic data (e.g., plethysmography) in conjunction with the standard signals provided, two auxiliary channels are supplied. Any combination of signals can be acquired concurrently. Standard measurements can be made on any of the data. For researchers, data can be easily exported as a text file for further analysis in other programs.

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