HeartBuds, a smartphone based stethoscope was developed by a group pf cardiologists at Orlando Health. The listening device resembles a regular stethoscope, but instead of the Y-shaped tube that feeds into the doctor’s ears, the device is connected to a smart phone. Consumers can even listen to the sound of their heart through regular phone ear buds. “They not only detect sounds inside the body just as well — or better — than traditional stethoscopes, but they are more sanitary,” said David Bello, MD, department chief of cardiology at Orlando Health, and developer of HeartBuds. “And because they incorporate smartphone technology, we can now record, store and share those sounds as well.”
When the app is activated, sounds from the hand-held device can be played through the smartphone speaker and images appear on the screen showing rhythmic blips that correspond with each sound. It lets health care providers not only listen, but discuss sounds with patients in real time.
The group compared HeartBuds’ sound quality in 50 patients with the sound from a standard stethoscope, a digital one and a disposable one. Their results showed that HeartBuds had a comparable sound quality to the traditional and digital stethoscopes. The disposable models tested missed the presence of heart murmurs 43 percent of the time, and missed carotid bruits up to 75 percent of the time. HeartBuds is just as sanitary as the disposable models, decreasing the risk of infections. The findings of the study were presented at The American Heart Association‘s 2015 Scientific Sessions held in Orlando, Florida.
Consumers can also use HeartBuds. For example, athletes use the devise to track their condition and performance and pregnant women have recorded sounds of their babies from inside the womb. Patients with chronic illnesses such as COPD and heart failure, for example, can use HeartBuds to monitor their conditions at home, and record, upload, and email the audio recordings to their doctor. The device is available on Amazon for $49.95 and comes with a free app. With the holidays coming, it may even be the perfect gift for your loved one.
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