This article focuses on the influence of noise and vibration on chest sound measurements with a piezoelectric stethoscope. Two types of vibrations, namely inputs through the patient chest and disturbances from the physician, influence the acoustic measurement. The goal of this work is to develop a model to understand the propagation of these vibrational noises through the stethoscope and to the piezoelectric sensing element. Using the model, methods to reduce the influence of disturbances acting on the stethoscope from the physician handling the device are explored. A multi-DOF rigid body vibration model consisting of discrete connected components is developed for the piezoelectric stethoscope. Using a two-port lumped parameter model, the mechanical vibrations are related to the resulting electrical signal. The parameterized state space model is experimentally validated and its parameters are identified by using a thorax simulator and vibration shaker. Based on predictions from the model, the introduction of vibration isolation to reduce the influence of physician noise on the transducer is then pursued. It is shown that direct vibration isolation between the transducer and the rest of the stethoscope structure leads to a reduction in coupling with the patient's chest. However, if isolation is instead introduced between the transducer housing and the rest of the stethoscope, then vibration isolation from the physician is achieved with far less reduction in patient coupling. Experimental results are presented to study the influence of the proposed design changes and confirm the predicted model behavior.
- system identification
- vibration isolation