Cyrille Lecroq invents a connected stethoscope for remote consultations
The health crisis inspired Cyrille Lecroq, a former engineer from TMC France, to develop a 3D printed medical device called SKOP in collaboration with doctors.
René Laennec invented the stethoscope in 1816 by observing children playing on an oak beam with a needle. Engineer Cyrille Lecroq took part in the battle against Covid-19 to modernize it in his spare time. “I am personally involved because my wife is an emergency nurse at the hospital. With her team, they did not have enough stock of protective equipment to withstand the crisis. So, as a 3D printing specialist, I made my machines available," explains the R&D engineer. “I first developed closed and hermetic visors validated by the doctors. I continued with adapters for ASP (Automatic Syringe Pump),” Lecroq continues. With the medical staff listening, Cyrille Lecroq quickly realized that the health crisis has changed medical paradigms and that framed 3D printing had become a ‘life-saving element’.
Connect the symbol of modern medicine
"I came up with the idea of a connected stethoscope after a discussion on the difficulty of consulting several patients affected by Covid-19 without serious symptoms and recovering at home," he recalls. How to check up on a patient regularly from a distance? How to allow the doctor behind his screen to listen to the heart? You need a connected stethoscope. Models exist, but at a price of around 1500 euros per unit. So, how do we make it simple and accessible? Again, 3D was the solution. Doctors joined Lecroq. They explained that the noise or the absence of noise sometimes defines serious pathologies beyond the simple heart rate. They also sent soundtracks with the engineer.
To replace the metal parts and the membrane of the current model, the inventor set out on “the principle that nature does things well and that nothing can replace millions of years of evolution. I reproduced a snail-shaped cockerel to amplify and clear the sound. I printed a prototype. And then, the sound was clean. Since then, 19 versions have succeeded and the project has been completed.” Now, with the SKOP, a headset and a smartphone, video monitoring is possible by phone, Skype or other networks.
Obtain a marketing authorization
"The ten doctors who participated in the informal study also delivered their findings. The results obtained are better than with the conventional stethoscope. In three weeks, it's exceptional! So we're going to take it to the next level,”says Cyrille Lecroq. Thus, after submitting the concept to the INPI (National Institute of Industrial Property, France), the IMPAC Engineering company in Montpellier is currently drafting a clinical trial protocol in order to obtain certification of the device by the ANSM (the French Medicines Agency) and a marketing authorization. “With an Open Source file, the demand is so high, that I am going to set up a legal structure to be able to print the SKOP in large volume and thus provide traceability and a guarantee," adds Lecroq.
A integrated and universal vision
Thanks to a low manufacturing costs, the price of the SKOP is set at 20 euros. Cyrille Lecroq wishes in the medium term, to also respond to specific problems such as practitioners living in huge areas in Africa or on islands, or even for NGOs during conflicts or health operations with the possibility to consult a cardiologist 10,000 km further. "For this, I already receive dozens of messages a day and I am happy and proud of it. It's a great technological, united and fair adventure that has started,"he explains. Now the engineer looks for private or public funds. Businesspeople who will have the same vision of access to health as he does.
Source: Le Parisien