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Design and development of a digital stethoscope encapsulation for simultaneous acquisition of phonocardiography and electrocardiography signals: the SmartHeart case study

Baptista, R. ; Silva, H. ; Rocha, M.

Journal of Medical Engineering and Technology Vol. n.a., Nº n.a., pp. 1 - 9, May, 2020.

ISSN (print): 0309-1902
ISSN (online):

Scimago Journal Ranking: 0,38 (in 2018)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1080/03091902.2020.1757770

The stethoscope is a major symbol of modern medicine. It is used for diagnosis of different conditions and enables physicians to listen to internal body sounds. Electrocardiography was only introduced in medicine in the beginning of the twentieth century. Today measuring heart’s electrical activity is also fundamental cardiac diseases diagnosis. Although performed with independent devices, requiring physician and patient presence in the same physical space, in combination they enhance cardiovascular assessment. In this paper, a digital stethoscope encapsulation was designed, adding new functionality to this advanced medical device. Today wired and wireless communications enable different medical devices to share data and information, over long distances. Using low-cost hardware technologies, the encapsulation will add the ability to acquire and transmit via Bluetooth the Electrocardiographic activity, determined in the same cardiac focus and synchronised with the Phonocardiographic sound recordings. Several encapsulation concepts were developed and prototyped using 3D printing. They were easily fitted to the digital stethoscope and tested in a hospital environment for ergonomics, acoustic and electric signals acquisition. The best concept was chosen with the help of a physician’s opinion and the final prototype performance was very satisfactory.