Stethoscopes Could Be Replaced by Smartphones and New Device

The 200-year old medical icon known as the stethoscope could be replaced with a new device and smartphones. HeartBuds, a listening device that connects to smartphones, was developed by a group of cardiologists who practice at the Orlando Health Heart Institute.
With HeartBuds, doctors use a small device shaped much like the head of a traditional stethoscope. Instead of being attached to a Y-shaped tube that feeds into the doctor’s ears, the device is plugged into a smartphone. When the app is activated, sounds from the HeartBuds can be played through the smartphone speaker and images appear on the screen showing rhythmic blips that correspond with each sound.
 
The technology was recently tested alongside two FDA-approved stethoscopes, and a disposable model. Results showed HeartBuds performed just as well as the more expensive and more commonly used stethoscopes in detecting heart murmurs and carotid bruits, which are sounds in the neck that indicate moderate to severe blockage of the carotid artery. Experts also found the disposable stethoscope model they tested missed the presence of heart murmurs 43 percent of the time, and missed carotid bruits up to 75 percent of the time.
 
The findings of the study, comparing the effectiveness of HeartBuds to the models, were presented today at the American Heart Association’s 2015 Scientific Sessions in Orlando.
 
The cardiologists behind HeartBuds: David Bello, MD; Carolina Demori, MD; Chandresh Duggal, MD; Arnold Einhorn, MD; and Louis Kantounis, MD
 
News coverage for the HeartBuds research study includes: Orlando Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1PntaET), KCBS Radio (San Francisco), Healthday's Physicians Briefing; de Volkskrant (a Dutch newspaper); and MD Magazine
 
Orlando Health YouTube Video (https://youtu.be/R3P_5TSicWc) features HeartBuds research and Orlando Health team members: 
David Bello, MD, Cardiology Chief, ORMC; Arnold Einhorn, MD, Co-Medical Director, Heart Institute; Valerie Danesh, PhD, RN, CCRP, Research and Clinical Grants Manager; Ricky Patel, Medical Student, University of Florida, and Research Associate, Orlando Health Heart Institute; Julio Schwarz, Cardiologist, University of Florida Health; Darwin Clark, MD, Chief Quality Officer, Medicine, ORMC; Lisa Hernandez, Lisa Hernandez, MBA, Executive Director, Mid-Florida Cardiology Specialists; and Theresa Suh, Physician Practice Supervisor, Adult Cardiology, Mid-Florida Cardiology Specialists.

November 18, 2015