AW-FETCH Software

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(Update: As of January 3rd 2007 Aware Electronics has available our new 32 bit Windows version of Aw-Fetch base station component. Phone or E-Mail for details.)

Aware has developed new software, AW-FETCH, a remote monitoring package for plotting at a base station PC, data from an unlimited number of remote RM units. (See figure below). AW-FETCH automatically connects with one or more remote PCs, dialing phone numbers if necessary, and updates each radiation file to the base station computer.

AW-FETCH includes a highly optimized communications sub-system including CRC error correction, variable size packets, password protection, automatic detection of modem flow control (for optimal speed with data-compressing smart modems), utilization of 16550 UART FIFO buffers and other advanced features. AW-FETCH will operate with modems (land line or cellular), direct-connect serial ports, or transceivers with TNC interface (for example MFJ's Packet Only Transceiver: $119 + MFJ's TNC: $119).

The package is optimized for efficient operation, tailored for use with the Aware RM units and/or PMI-30 together with AW-SRAD and/or AW-GRAPH radiation data gathering programs. For example, unlike standard communications programs, the interrupt handler in AW-FETCH immediately enables interrupts and frees the interrupt controller before processing any data, to assure the radiation gathering aspect of the software has sufficient CPU time. Because of the critical nature of the communication, it also includes anti-crash technology (anti stack overflow control).

AW-FETCH fetches the minimum data needed to update the duplicated radiation file, rather than copying over the entire file with each update. If during an update session the communications link is broken, after re-establishing the link, the program automatically picks up where it left off.

Plot up to 8 locations simultaneously with AW-GRAPH, and update plots from AW-GRAPH with one key stroke. Program will selectively "mark" points to indicate points gathered during a test period, for example, when a patient is lying in bed, or a fan was turned on, etc.

Excellent for Radiation Safety (place an RM-60 + HP. 200LX in that old storage room), remote monitoring of Radon WL, processing, manufacturing facilities, Nuclear Medical applications, etc.

At the recent EPA "International Radiological Post-Emergency Response Issues Conference" in Washington DC, Aware Electronics demonstrated the use of Aw-fetch software. We monitored and graphed, with the hit a of few keys, several remote locations, including the radiological waiting room in a large New York City hospital (HP 200LX Palm Top PC with RM-60 and PCMCIA modem situated above the false ceiling tile of the waiting room) and a RM-70 plugged into a PC with modem in Aware's office. In the case of Aware's office location, we equipped our 800 phone line with a ComSwitch 7500 which, when detecting an extended modem dial string sent by Aw-fetch, automatically connected our 800 line to the office PC's modem, allowing Aw-fetch to proceed with the update of data and plot at our Washington DC location.

A radiologic example: Radiologist administers 120 mC 131-I to patient with cancerous thyroid. Patient is allowed to leave hospital when 131-I level reaches 30 mC. MD places RM-60 + HP. 200LX palm top PC with PCMCIA modem in patient's room, has patient assume a standardized position, (for example laying in bed), then starts the radiation program. Periodically over the next several days, MD uses AW-FETCH to view patient's activity. When activity decays 75%, patient is discharged. One MD can monitor an unlimited number of patients from any telephone jack. AW-GRAPH's math modeling function will help predict future levels. Flip between semilog and normal plot with a keystroke.

Below is selected text and images from a successful grant application (SBIR HCFA Grant # 97-P-90781/3-01 "Remote Monitoring of I-131 Therapy Patients") using AW-FETCH package, RM-60s and HP. 200LX palm top PCs equipped with PCMCIA modems.

Also see 9/98 edition of peer reviewed JOURNAL of NUCLEAR MEDICINE "Remotely Pollable Geiger-Muller Detector for Continuous Monitoring of Iodine-131 Therapy Patients" (L.S. Zuckier, B. Boardman, Q.H. Zhao).

  • Click For Image of JNM paper



    Each year, in the United States, some 15,000 patients are admitted to hospital for administration of radioactive 131-I. Although not acutely ill, as a general rule, radiation safety regulations dictate that patients who still retain a regulatory threshold whole-body burden of 131-I must be segregated from the general populace. Present methods of monitoring in-patients, to determine time of discharge, are limited and likely result in unnecessarily prolonged hospitalization. AWARE Electronics has developed and marketed an extremely flexible Geiger-Mueller counter (RM-60), designed to interface with IBM-compatible personal computers, which has been useful in many non-medical applications. Specialized counting hardware and sophisticated display and analysis software are seamlessly integrated using the PC as a convenient and available platform.

    In collaboration with our Nuclear Medicine group, we have investigated feasibility of this device as a remote means of monitoring 131-I therapy patients, using modems, and standard telephone lines.

    Schematic representation of remote and base components of the AW-FETCH - GM monitoring system. Continuous data from the remote bedside computer may be uploaded to 1 or more base computers using an intermittent telephone connection between modems (dashed line).
    AW-FETCH Schematic

    The remote component, consisting of a palmtop IBM compatible personal computer, specialized software, PCMCIA modem, and RM60 miniature serial-port-based Geiger-Mueller (GM) detector, is placed opposite the patient's bed at a fixed distance and continuous 1 minute acquisitions are begun. Initially and at least twice-daily, the remote palmtop is contacted by modem and all interval data is uploaded onto the operator's base computer over the telephone line, including measurements taken with the patient in a predetermined standardized position. Continuous minute-to-minute data may be viewed in native form, or can be imported into graphic and spreadsheet programs. Points acquired with the patient in standardized position are specially marked to highlight the constant geometry employed. The ratio of baseline count-rate to initial dose administered is used to estimate residual 131-I body burden by proportionality. Display of data as a semilog plot facilitates extrapolation of the radioactivity curves and prediction of the patient's earliest time of discharge.

    HP 200LX + PCMCIA modem + RM-60
    200LX - PCMCIA Modem - RM-60

    Test of RM-60 - HP. 200LX

    Raw count-rate during decay of 15 mCi of 99mTc. Each point is the average of 10 1-minute acquisitions, without subtraction of background. Marked points represent idealized count-rate values based on extrapolation of the 24 hour measurements. Measured count rate is 5% less than that predicted at the highest count-rates.

    Test of RM-60 + HP. 200LX

    Patient administered 108 mCi of 131-I. Semilog plot of continuous radioactivity measurements (tracing) and superimposed standardized points (squares) clearly demonstrates 2 parallel lines, the upper corresponding to the patient lying in bed, and the lower to the patient seated in a chair which was located slightly further away from the detector. The corresponding amount of retained 131-I is plotted on the second Y axis. Sharp decreases in count-rate correspond to the patient moving away from the detector to the far side of the room (towards the bathroom) while increases above baseline represent movement towards the window and detector.
    108 mCi

    Patient administered 154 mCi of 131-I for ablation of thyroid remnants and therapy of regional lymph node metastases. Semilog plot of radioactivity measurements (line) and superimposed standardized points (squares) demonstrates a gradual 30-fold decrease in count-rate over a 2 day period. The corresponding amount of retained 131-I is plotted on the second Y axis. In spite of having regurgitated into the sink some 4 hours after administration of radioiodine, no sharp decrease in activity is noted at this time point, reassuring the physicians that no significant amount of radionuclide was lost.
    154 mCi

    For more information about AW-FETCH package, contact:
    Bryan Boardman at Aware
    Phone: (800)729-5397 or Phone/Fax: (302)655-3800
    Lionel Zuckier, MD
    Nuclear Medicine Research Lab
    Albert Einstein College of Medicine
    1300 Morris Park Avenue
    Ullmann Bldg, Room 121
    Bronx, NY 10461
    phone: (718)-430-2605

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