Mobile App Scans Pediatric Patients to "Weigh" Them

Written by Clay Smith

Spoon Feed
A new mobile app, the Weighing Cam, that visually scans children with the phone camera was more accurate than the Broselow tape in estimating the weight of pediatric patients.

Why does this matter?
It can be difficult to estimate a child’s weight. For years, I have taught our medical students and residents that the most accurate method is to ask the parent. Then, use of a Broselow tape is good, followed by memorizing a few key numbers: newborn=3.5kg; 1yr=10kg; 5y=20kg; 10y=30kg. This gets you in the ballpark. But what if you could do a Star Trek scan of a child’s body, and the app would calculate the weight?

Move over Star Trek…
This was a study of 480 South Korean children, 15 boys and 15 girls in each age range, that compared a new mobile phone application, the Weighing Cam, to the Broselow tape. At each age, the Weighing Cam outperformed the Broselow. It scans the child with the phone camera, determines the weight, and spits out all the right drug doses and equipment sizes for the estimated weight. The downside is that the patient has to have space to lay down, hold still, and have markers placed on the bed next to the child to make the app work (see image). This may not be feasible in the prehospital setting. It also underperformed in underweight or obese patients. This is pretty cool. I think I will wait until it is refined and improved to use in practice. But this is coming.

From cited article - “The process of weight estimation using the Weighing Cam. To estimate the height of the patient, place four markers on the corners of the bed (150 x 38.2 cm) and lay the patient down. Then, take a picture of the patient using the Weighing Cam application (A). Next, touch a finger to the smartphone screen’s markers in order (B, C). Check the position of the marker on the smartphone and adjust the patient's height from the end of the head to the heels (D). Select the patient's sex and body habitus (E). The estimated weight is displayed on the smartphone screen, followed by the drug dosage, instrument size, and defibrillation energy (56 items) (F).”

From cited article - “The process of weight estimation using the Weighing Cam. To estimate the height of the patient, place four markers on the corners of the bed (150 x 38.2 cm) and lay the patient down. Then, take a picture of the patient using the Weighing Cam application (A). Next, touch a finger to the smartphone screen’s markers in order (B, C). Check the position of the marker on the smartphone and adjust the patient's height from the end of the head to the heels (D). Select the patient's sex and body habitus (E). The estimated weight is displayed on the smartphone screen, followed by the drug dosage, instrument size, and defibrillation energy (56 items) (F).”

Source
"Weighing CAM": A New Mobile Application for Weight Estimation in Pediatric Resuscitation. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2019 Aug 1:1-14. doi: 10.1080/10903127.2019.1651432. [Epub ahead of print]

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Reviewed by Thomas Davis

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