Heart doctors are listening for clues to the future of their stethoscopes
The stethoscope is having a crossroads moment. Perhaps more than at any time in its two-century history, this ubiquitous tool of the medical profession is at the center of debate over how medicine should be practiced.
In recent years, the sounds it transmits from the heart, lungs, blood vessels and bowels have been digitized, amplified, filtered and recorded. Four months ago, the Food and Drug Administration approved a stethoscope that can faithfully reproduce those sounds on a cellphone app thousands of miles away or send them directly to an electronic medical record.
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