An accurate, inexpensive cardiac screening system

Year 2003
Project team John Guttag

An electronic stethoscope

Eighty percent of the people referred to cardiologists as suffering from mitral valve prolapse (MVP) do not actually have MVP. This is in large part because of the use of stethoscopes to screen for cardiac problems. While stethoscopes are non-invasive, inexpensive and fast, the interpretation of the acoustical signal is also subjective and highly inaccurate. The purpose of this project is to develop a computer-based system for MVP screening that is as non-invasive, inexpensive, and fast as the stethoscope, but also highly accurate. The system’s software makes a diagnosis based on signals collected from an electronic stethoscope and a two-lead EKG. It justifies the diagnosis with a variety of novel audio-visual aids that, for instance, allow the physician to visualize heartbeats on a computerized display and listen to audio enhanced heartbeats. The implications of this project for future cardiac diagnoses are quite promising.