Eye On Health: Goodbye stethoscope? - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Eye On Health: Goodbye stethoscope?

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While most of us couldn't imagine a trip to the doctor without seeing a stethoscope, Doctor David Bello has a hard time envisioning a future with them.

He recently saw a patient who experienced a scary, fluttering sound in their hear, and as he listened to them try to describe what happened, Bello was frustrated by what they said.

Dr. David Bell says "I would like to have that sound for you.  I'd like to share that sound with you.  They couldn't do it.  So now we have a nice way to do it."

Thanks to this.  It's called Heart Buds, using this small device, an app and a smartphone, sounds can now be recorded, stored and shared.  And to see how it compared to traditional models, researchers put it to the test.

Ricky Patel, Medical Student, UF College of Medicine says "We examined four different stethoscope models, and we used them on 50 different patients, listening to their heart sounds, their lung sounds, their abdominal sounds, and also their vessels in their neck."

Researchers found Heart Buds picked up sounds just as well as the top stethoscopes on the market and better than disposable stethoscopes missed 43 percent of heart murmurs and up to 75 percent of carotid artery blockage.  Even more importantly, the opportunity for bacteria to nest in the earpieces of stethoscopes is eliminated.

Dr. Arnold Einhorn, Orlando Health says "So with this electronic stethoscope that no longer has this portion there will be no more transmitting this stuff between the patients."

We reached out to Chattanooga's 3 major hospitals to see if they uses this technology, Both representatives from Erlanger and Parkridge say their physicians still use stethoscopes. Erlanger issued a statement from one of their doctors   saying a stethoscope is still an effective tool for monitoring a variety of cardiac conditions.  

Cost is another advantage. Traditional stethoscopes can cost up to 400 dollars, while Heart Buds cost less than 10 dollars to produce. Only doctors can use them to diagnose patients, but consumers are using them too.  Athletes use Heart Buds to monitor their bodies, and pregnant women are now using them to record  sounds of their babies in the womb to share with friends and family.

It also allows patients with chronic diseases like heart failure to manage their condition from home.  They can record their own sounds and send to the file to their doctor.

Dr. Darwin Clark says "And within a few minutes, have it listened to, analyzed and have report back from their doctor's office.  That's exciting, that's the future of medicine.

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