Wednesday October 18, 2017
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HeartBuds could mark end of stethoscope

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photo credit:medicalxpress.com

New York: Two centuries after its invention, the ubiquitous stethoscope may be on the way out — a smaller device connected through an app to smartphones may replace the old Y-shaped instrument.

The new portable device is named HeartBuds.

“They not only detect sounds inside the body just as well — or better — than traditional stethoscopes, but they are more sanitary,” said David Bello, chief of cardiology at Orlando Health, who developed HeartBuds.

“And because they incorporate smartphone technology, we can now record, store and share those sounds as well. This could change the way we approach patient exams in the future,” Bello said.

The stethoscope was invented in 1816 by French physician René Laennec, and has essentially remained unchanged since. But on the eve of its 200th anniversary, the emergence of this new technology could mark the beginning of the end for this medical mainstay.

With HeartBuds, doctors use a small, portable plastic listening 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, however, this device is plugged into a smartphone.

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.

In all, doctors examined 50 patients and compared the performance of HeartBuds to two FDA-approved class I and class II stethoscopes, as well as a commonly used disposable model.

Results of the study showed that the HeartBuds smartphone-based device performed just as well as the more expensive and more commonly used class I and class II stethoscopes in detecting heart murmurs and carotid bruits, which are sounds in the neck that indicate moderate to severe blockage of the carotid artery.

However, experts found that 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 were presented at The American Heart Association’s 2015 Scientific Sessions held in Orlando, Florida.

(IANS)

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USA observing CPR and AED Awareness Week from June 1-7, to save lives from Cardiac Arrest

The month of June is designated to raise awareness for the practical purposes and training of CPR & AED

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CPR training: CPR is being administered while a second rescuer prepares for defibrillation. Image source: Wikipedia

Back in 2007, the American Heart Association, The American Red Cross, and the National Safety Council joined forces and worked fervently to assign one week of the year for CPR & AED Awareness. By December 13 2007, Congress declared that the first week of June will be recognized as CPR & AED Awareness week.

Unfortunately for the people who worked so hard to designate one week of the year to raise awareness on these two rescue tactics, the first week of June coincides with a nationally recognized holiday; Memorial Day. They have taken it upon themselves to recognize the month of June as CPR & AED Awareness Month, as opposed to just using the first week to recognize such an important topic.

CPR and AED Awareness posters. Image source: cpr.heart.org
CPR and AED Awareness posters. Image source: cpr.heart.org

The purpose of raising awareness of this first aid training tactic is simple; to save lives. According to the American Red Cross, cardiac arrest is the one of the main causes of death in adults. These sudden cardiac arrests typically happen in homes. The mission of raising awareness is also to ensure that at least one person in every household has received CPR & AED training and can properly aid anyone who may need that specific medical attention.

CPR stands for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. It is a rescue technique that one individual applies to another who is suffering from cardiac arrest. It is a series of actions that includes compressing on an individual’s chest and breathing air into their lungs. The goal is to ensure that a person’s blood circulation and oxygen in their body stay at functioning levels.

An AED machine in Akihabara Wikimedia Commons
An AED machine in Akihabara. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator. An AED is a machine that you can find attached to walls in many public locations. The defibrillator is used in very serious situations. When used, it restores an individual’s electrical signals to their heart. In these serious situations, if the AED is not used it could result in death or incapacitation.

The importance of CPR & AED is very blatant for anyone to see. It must be noted that these life saving tactics cannot be properly maneuvered if one has not been trained to do so. The attention CPR & AED Awareness Week/Month receives is beneficial to all. Many CPR/AED classes are available for people to take, and information is obtainable. Local events are typically hosted for the awareness week, and The American Heart Association encourages you to look into classes. The AHA also has free printable documents, which you can use to spread the word about CPR & AED Awareness Week in your very own community.

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