Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

iPods Help Doctors Improve Stethoscope Skills

Date:
March 26, 2007
Source:
Temple University
Summary:
The ability of physicians to recognize abnormal heart sounds is only fair at best. Fortunately, the solution is simple: Listening repeatedly. In fact, intensive repetition -- listening at least 400 times to each heart sound on an iPod -- significantly improved the stethoscope abilities of doctors, according to a study presented at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting.

Mike Barrett and Archana Saxena listen to heart sounds on an iPod. They found that repetitive listening improved physicians' stethoscope skills significantly.
Credit: oseph V. Labolito: Temple University

Patients rely on their physicians to recognize signs of trouble, yet for common heart murmurs, that ability is only fair at best. Fortunately, the solution is simple: listening repeatedly. In fact, intensive repetition — listening at least 400 times to each heart sound — significantly improved the stethoscope abilities of doctors, according to a study presented today at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting.

After demonstrating last year that medical students greatly improved their stethoscope skills by listening repeatedly to heart sounds on their iPods, lead investigator Michael Barrett, M.D., clinical associate professor of medicine and cardiologist at Temple University School of Medicine and Hospital, set out to test the technique on practicing physicians.

During a single 90-minute session, 149 general internists listened 400 times to five common heart murmurs including aortic stenosis, aortic regurgitation, mitral stenosis, mitral regurgitation and innocent systolic murmur. Previous studies have found the average rate of correct heart sound identification in physicians is 40 percent. After the session, the average improved to 80 percent.

Proficiency with a stethoscope — and the ability to recognize abnormal heart sounds — is a critical skill for identifying dangerous heart conditions and minimizing dependence on expensive medical tests.

“It’s important to know when to order a costly echocardiogram or stress test,” said Barrett. “Plus, internists are now tested on this skill for board recertification. Requirements for residents and other specialists are sure to follow.”

Listening to the heart, known as cardiac auscultation, is, Barrett believes, a technical skill and therefore best learned through intensive drilling and repetition, not by traditional methods, usually a classroom lecture or demonstration in medical school and then on the job.

“You don’t build this proficiency by osmosis,” Barrett said.

Barrett will lead another study of physicians, this time cardiologists, at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans on March 25 and 26 at 9 a.m. After the physicians’ baseline stethoscope skills are tested, they will receive an iPod loaded with various heart sounds. After listening 400 times to each sound, they will be tested again to measure their improvement.

Temple University School of Medicine, where Barrett teaches, recently started a four-year curriculum on cardiac auscultation that relies on different types of simulators, including iPods, to teach medical students this important but vanishing skill.

For each year of medical school, heart sounds are posted online, allowing students to download them to an iPod or mp3 player. After listening repeatedly to the audio files, students’ skills are tested.

Since the release of Barrett’s first study with medical students, the demand for recordings of heart sounds has been intense. Thanks to a partnership with the American College of Cardiology, Barrett’s heart sounds can now be accessed online and are available on CD.

He foresees a day in the near future when doctors are listening to heart sounds during their work commute.

“There are two times when a busy practitioner can learn a new skill: at professional meetings and during their work commute,” observed Barrett. Consequently, he advised the ACC to make the CDs car-friendly and about the length of an average commute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Temple University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Temple University. "iPods Help Doctors Improve Stethoscope Skills." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070325111532.htm>.
Temple University. (2007, March 26). iPods Help Doctors Improve Stethoscope Skills. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070325111532.htm
Temple University. "iPods Help Doctors Improve Stethoscope Skills." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070325111532.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins