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New sound synchronization technology holds the key to earlier diagnosis of heart disease
Date:6/2/2011

ify heart problems before they become serious even when patients come to surgery about a totally unrelated health matter. Early interventions not only help patients but also reduce the burden on healthcare resources."

As well as being suitable for use in GP surgeries, the stethoscope called the DigiScope will be ideally suited to outpatient clinics, accident & emergency units and other hospital departments where doctors are not necessarily cardiac specialists.

The DigiScope is designed to be used by doctors in exactly the same way as they use a conventional stethoscope. They position the end piece, in turn, on four different places on the patient's chest. However, with the DigiScope these four separate sounds are then transmitted wirelessly to a laptop or desktop and synchronised by the QMUL technology as if they were all transmitted simultaneously. They are then analysed using ICA.

With the new system, doctors can compare the visual graphs produced with 'normal' readings while the patient is there, or save the graphs and study them later. Or a second opinion on the data can be obtained, via the internet, from another doctor located miles away.

"It's the multidisciplinary character of this exciting international collaboration that has enabled it to produce such a promising outcome," says Professor Plumbley. "Two prototype DigiScopes are already in use to test their capabilities. The development will not remove the need for specialist cardiac units, it will simply make it easier to identify potential heart problems at an earlier stage."


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Contact: EPSRC Press Office
pressoffice@epsrc.ac.uk
01-793-444-404
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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