The spectrum of the embolic heart sounds (EHS) detected by precordial Doppler ultrasound has been previously characterized, but only on small volumes of venous air embolism (VAE). We sought to determine whether real-time wavelet analysis is useful in analyzing the signals of EHS and whether the embolic power of the EHS for larger volumes of air is proportionate to the volume of VAE that has been reported for small volumes of VAE. A series of small air boli (0.01, 0.02, 0.05, 0.07, 0.1, 0.15, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, and 0.8 mL), followed by continuous infusion of larger volumes of air (0.8, 1.6, 2.4, 4.8, and 9.6 mL), was injected into the external jugular vein through a central catheter in seven pentobarbital-anesthetized dogs. We measured the spectrum of the Doppler heart sound (DHS) in a real-time manner by using wavelet analysis at different scales. Wavelet analysis at scale = 1 yielded satisfactory results in distinguishing abnormal EHS from normal DHS with high sensitivity (100%) and good positive predictive value (100%) compared with the conventional method, which requires an anesthesiologist to listen to the audio DHS signals in a real-time manner. There was a linear relationship (y = 1.08x + 7.89, r = 0.75, P < 0.001) between the cumulative embolic power of the EHS and the air volume introduced in the form of either bolus or continuous infusion. The 95% confidence intervals for slope and intercept were 0.89-1.27 and 7.65-8.13, respectively. Our results suggest that wavelet analysis is effective as a real-time monitor and that it is possible to distinguish larger volumes of air emboli based on previous injections of small volumes of air.
Implications: The real-time wavelet analysis of the heart sound detected by precordial Doppler ultrasound may be useful in estimating larger volumes of air emboli based on previous injections of small volumes of air in anesthetized dogs.