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Biomed Eng Online ; 21(1): 63, 2022 Sep 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2009406


BACKGROUND: With the spread of COVID-19, telemedicine has played an important role, but tele-auscultation is still unavailable in most countries. This study introduces and tests a tele-auscultation system (Stemoscope) and compares the concordance of the Stemoscope with the traditional stethoscope in the evaluation of heart murmurs. METHODS: A total of 57 patients with murmurs were recruited, and echocardiographs were performed. Three cardiologists were asked to correctly categorize heart sounds (both systolic murmur and diastolic murmur) as normal vs. abnormal with both the Stemoscope and a traditional acoustic stethoscope under different conditions. Firstly, we compared the in-person auscultation agreement between Stemoscope and the conventional acoustic stethoscope. Secondly, we compared tele-auscultation (recorded heart sounds) agreement between Stemoscope and acoustic results. Thirdly, we compared both the Stemoscope tele-auscultation results and traditional acoustic stethoscope in-person auscultation results with echocardiography. Finally, ten other cardiologists were asked to complete a qualitative questionnaire to assess their experience using the Stemoscope. RESULTS: For murmurs detection, the in-person auscultation agreement between Stemoscope and the acoustic stethoscope was 91% (p = 0.67). The agreement between Stemoscope tele-auscultation and the acoustic stethoscope in-person auscultation was 90% (p = 0.32). When using the echocardiographic findings as the reference, the agreement between Stemoscope (tele-auscultation) and the acoustic stethoscope (in-person auscultation) was 89% vs. 86% (p = 1.00). The system evaluated by ten cardiologists is considered easy to use, and most of them would consider using it in a telemedical setting. CONCLUSION: In-person auscultation and tele-auscultation by the Stemoscope are in good agreement with manual acoustic auscultation. The Stemoscope is a helpful heart murmur screening tool at a distance and can be used in telemedicine.

COVID-19 , Stethoscopes , Auscultation/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Electronics , Heart Auscultation/methods , Heart Murmurs , Humans
GMS J Med Educ ; 39(2): Doc21, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1855297


Background: Cardiac auscultation is a core clinical skill taught in medical school. Due to contact restrictions during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, interaction with patients was very limited. Therefore, a peer-to-peer virtual case-based auscultation course via video conference was established. Methods: A randomized controlled cross-over study was conducted to evaluate whether participation in a virtual auscultation course could improve heart auscultation skills in 3rd-year medical students. A total of sixty medical students were randomly assigned to either the experimental or control group after informed consent was obtained. Due to no-shows, 55 students participated. Depending on allocation, students attended three ninety-minute courses in intervals of one week in a different order: a virtual case-based auscultation course held via video chat, literature self-study, and an on-site course using a high-fidelity auscultation simulator (SAM II). The study's primary endpoint was the performance of the two groups at the simulator after participating in the virtual auscultation course or literature self-study. To evaluate their auscultation skills, students participated in five assessments using the same six pathologies: stenosis and regurgitation of the aortic and mitral valve, ventricular septal defect, and patent ductus arteriosus. Moreover, participants rated their satisfaction with each course and provided a self-assessment of competence. Results: Compared to literature self-study, participation in the virtual auscultation course led to a significantly improved description of heart murmurs at the auscultation simulator with regard to the presence in systole and diastole, low- and high-pitched sounds, and volume dynamics. There was no significant difference between the groups in diagnostic accuracy and identification of the point of maximal intensity. After the virtual course, students showed higher satisfaction rates and a higher increase in self-assessed competence compared to participants who engaged in literature self-study. Conclusions: For the first time, this study demonstrates that a case-based virtual auscultation course can improve aspects of cardiac auscultation skills on a simulator. This may facilitate the further acquisition of an essential clinical skill, even when contact restrictions will be lifted.

COVID-19 , Students, Medical , COVID-19/epidemiology , Clinical Competence , Cross-Over Studies , Heart Auscultation , Humans , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2