In the United States, an estimated 1.3 million children each year are referred to pediatric cardiologists by their pediatricians for heart murmurs. In approximately 90% of these referred children the murmur turns out to be a Still’s murmur, an innocent (benign) heart murmur of childhood. The unnecessary referrals and associated testing cost the healthcare system over $500 million and are a source of avoidable anxiety among children and their parents while waiting to see the cardiologist.
Thist is a mobile device-based digital stethoscope accompanied with a highly accurate computer algorithm is used to discriminate Still’s murmur from pathological murmurs. This device would allow pediatricians to identify Still’s murmur in the office setting without needing expert consultation and could also help new pediatricians develop the necessary auscultation skill to identify Still’s murmur. The device could significantly reduce the current rates of unnecessary referrals to cardiologists, reduce the financial and emotional cost of unnecessary testing, and provide reassurance to both families and medical personnel.
APDC funds will cover the refinement and testing of the original Still’s murmur algorithm which will not in itself lead to a finished product but will enable the technology to be potentially license to a larger company.