(2012), "South Africa - Mobile phone stethoscope developed", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 25 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijhcqa.2012.06225baa.012Download as .RIS
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South Africa - Mobile phone stethoscope developed
Article Type: News and views From: International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Volume 25, Issue 2
Keywords: Mobile screening methods, Medical healthcare research, Heart disease screening
University of Oxford researchers have developed an easy to use mobile phone-connected stethoscope designed to help screen for heart disease in Africa.
The project came in response to the high number of tuberculosis patients in Africa who die from a severe inflammation around the heart. Symptoms of the condition include increased heart rate and abnormal heart sounds.
The intention is to create a cost-effective and easy to use mobile device which can remotely and reliably monitor a patient’s heart over a period of months.
The device involves clinicians using a basic stethoscope attachment with either an iPhone or simple Nokia handset to record the phonocardiogram. Results are then played through the mobile phone.
Dr Thomas Brennan, a research assistant at the University’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering, has been working with researchers at the University of Cape Town to develop the new device.
The team carried out a study of 150 patients with either congestive heart failure, a pacemaker, congenital disorders or with a valve replacement at a cardiac clinic in Cape Town. The study found the device was only “marginally worse” than the widely-used Littman Electronic Stethoscope.
Dr Brennan told eHealth Insider the Nokia phone actually outperformed the Litmann device when it took a reading, however it had to reject more readings than the existing electronic stethoscope.
“This is likely due to the fact that the Nokia filters out low-frequency breathing sounds, given that it’s designed for voice.”
Both the Litmann and iPhone devices performed well at capturing the low-frequency noises.
Dr Brennan said they are now hoping to use the device to screen for patients with a particular form of heart disease.
“The next step is to evaluate the performance of the mobile stethoscope, likely using an Android smartphone, to screen patients with rheumatic heart disease.
“We’re hoping to partner with clinicians in South Africa who are conducting a study amongst school children to screen for rheumatic heart disease.”
For more information: www.ehi.co.uk