Background: Auscultation is one of the basic techniques for the diagnosis of heart disease. However, the interpretation of heart sounds and murmurs is a highly subjective and difficult skill.
Objectives: To assist the auscultation skill at the bedside, a handy phonocardiogram was developed using a smartphone (Samsung Galaxy J, Android OS 4.4.2) and an external microphone attached to a stethoscope.
Methods and results: The Android app used Java classes, "AudioRecord," "AudioTrack," and "View," that recorded sounds, replayed sounds, and plotted sound waves, respectively. Sound waves were visualized in real-time, simultaneously replayed on the smartphone, and saved to WAV files. To confirm the availability of the app, 26 kinds of heart sounds and murmurs sounded on a human patient simulator were recorded using three different methods: a bell-type stethoscope, a diaphragm-type stethoscope, and a direct external microphone without a stethoscope. The recorded waveforms were subjectively confirmed and were found to be similar to the reference waveforms.
Conclusions: The real-time visualization of the sound waves on the smartphone may help novices to readily recognize and learn to distinguish the various heart sounds and murmurs in real-time.
Keywords: Cardiac auscultation; Heart sounds; Murmurs; Real-time sound wave visualization; Smartphone phonocardiogram app.
© 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel.