Is this the end of the stethoscope?

ORLANDO, FL. — Could new technology cause health care providers to hang up the stethoscope? Doctors, nurses and other health care providers can now check someone’s heart beat with a smartphone. ABC 10’s Sarah Mac has more on how a new app could be a game changer.

One of the most iconic pieces of medical equipment has to be the stethoscope. But thanks to a new device, you may not see those used in the future. Doctor David Bello can’t imagine a future with a stethoscope.

The doctor recently saw a patient who tried to describe a scary, heart fluttering sound – and as he listened to them try to describe what happened, Bello was frustrated by what they said.

David Bello, MD of Orlando Health 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 way to do it.”

That is thanks to Heart Buds. This device is used with a smartphone app to detect, record, store and share sounds. Researchers at Orlando Health put it to the test to see how it would compare to the traditional 200–year–old stethoscope.

Medical Student at UF College of Medicine, Ricky Patel 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 models. In fact, compared to Heart Buds, disposable stethoscopes missed 43% of heart murmurs and up to 75% of carotid artery blockage.

Even more importantly, the opportunity for bacteria to nest in the earpieces of stethoscopes is eliminated.

Arnold Einhorn, MD of Orlando Health says, “So, with this electronic stethoscope that no longer has this portion, there’ll be no more transmitting this stuff between the patients.”

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

Darwin Clark, MD of Orlando Health says, “…And within a few minutes, have it listened to, analyzed and have a report back from their doctor’s office. That’s exciting, that’s the future of medicine.”

On top of that, athletes can use Heart Buds to monitor their bodies and pregnant women can now use them to record sounds of their babies in the womb to share with friends and family.