‘Throat-lite’ enables fast and accurate diagnosis of disease

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The use of the existing disposable wooden tongue depressors is enhanced with mini LED lights. PIX/NOOR AZREEN AWANG

By AZMAN ZAKARIA

AN INNOVATION in throat examination, ‘Throatlite’, which combines the use of the wooden tongue depressor or spatula with mini LED lights enables a faster and more efficient examination for accurate diagnosis of diseases. Through the innovation, the use of the existing disposable wooden tongue depressors is enhanced with mini LED lights.

The small, lightweight and 360-degree rotating LED light only needs to be clipped to the wooden tongue depressor before being used. It can be held with only one hand, and the light from the mini LED light mounted on the wooden tongue depressor can be aimed directly at the targeted area.

A pathologist (Haematology) from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Assoc Prof Dr Sabariah Md Noor, said the intervention eases throat examination among children and allows examination to be carried out by only one medical practitioner.

According to her, medical practitioners no longer need the help of a support staff or the patient’s parent to hold or place the patient on the lap, to stabilise the patient’s head position and to soothe the child who may throw a tantrum during examination.

Hence, she said that the small, portable and practical ‘Throat-lite’ can have a big impact on the daily job of medical practitioner as it allows them to provide immediate and suitable treatment based on the diagnosis. She said the idea of producing the ‘Throat-lite’ was sparked during her discussion with Dr Shazreen @ Fatihah Shaari, a paediatrician at Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital, Kota Bharu on the difficulties faced by medical practitioners during throat examinations on children. According to her, currently, medical practitioners need the help of a support staff or parents to hold the child during throat examination while the medical practitioner holds a torchlight with one hand and a wooden tongue depressor with the other. She said the discussion led to a project involving two Form One students from Sultan Alam Shah School, Putrajaya, Muhammad Danish Imtiaz Syamul Kamal and Aiman Harun Norashid, during the Global I-Lead STEM Camp & International STEM Olympiad (GISC & ISTEMO) 2018 programme at UPM, recently.

Prior to the GISC programme, a survey was conducted involving medical practitioners on the issue and need of good lighting during throat examination. About 90 per cent of the respondents agreed that oral cavity examination among children is more complicated compared to the same procedure performed on adults, and they unanimously agreed that lighting is a very important requirement for a proper throat examination.

A post-intervention study on the use of ‘Throat-lite’ was also conducted throughout the GISC programme. Of the 24 practitioners involved, about 63 per cent of the respondents claimed that they were very satisfied, 21 per cent claimed that they were satisfied while the rest rated the intervention as ‘fair’.

Feedback on the main aspects that assist them the most such as the design for ease of use, mobility and practicality factors, or all of the listed features showed that 46 per cent of the respondents said they preferred it due to its mobility and practicality factors, and 42 per cent appreciated the mini LED light installation intervention and were satisfied with all the aspects, namely the design and the mobility and practicality factors.

‘Throat-lite’ won the silver medal award at ISTEMO 2018. Dr Sabariah hopes that the use of ‘Throat-lite’ will help realise part of the mission and vision of the Ministry of Health for a more accurate and efficient screening of patients which would allow for accurate diagnosis of disease and enable immediate and suitable implementation of treatment.