Is the stethoscope dying? High-tech rivals pose a threat

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Is the stethoscope dying? High-tech rivals pose a threat

In this 1915-1923 photo made available by the Library of Congress, a doctor examines a child with a stethoscope, accompanied by a nurse, in the United States. Two centuries after its invention, the stethoscope _ the very symbol of the medical profession _ is facing an uncertain prognosis. It is threatened by hand-held devices that are also pressed against the chest but rely on ultrasound technology, artificial intelligence and smartphone apps instead of doctors’ ears to help detect leaks, murmurs, abnormal rhythms and other problems in the heart, lungs and elsewhere. (Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress via AP)
In this Monday, July 8, 2019 photo, James Thomas, a cardiologist at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago examines Dennis Calling, a retired Chicago inspector. With medical advances and competing devices over the past few decades, "the old stethoscope is kind of falling on hard times in terms of rigorous training," says Thomas. "Some recent studies have shown that graduates in internal medicine and emergency medicine may miss as many of half of (heart) murmurs using a stethoscope."(AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)
In this Monday, July 8, 2019 photo, James Thomas, a cardiologist at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago examines Dennis Calling, a retired Chicago inspector using Eko Duo, a new device for cardiovascular screening. Northwestern is involved in a study testing the new artificial intelligence technology which combines a stethoscope with an electrocardiogram. To improve detection of heart murmurs the system uses an algorithm based on recordings of thousands of heartbeats. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)
This image made available by the University of Michigan shows the 1960 painting "Laennec and the Stethoscope" by Robert Thom, depicting Dr. Theophile Laennec examining a young patient at Necker Hospital in Paris, France, in 1816. Laennec’s invention made it easier to hear heart and lung sounds than pressing an ear against the chest. Rubber tubes, earpieces and the often cold metal attachment that is placed against the chest came later, helping to amplify the sounds. (From the collection of Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan, Gift of Pfizer Inc. via AP)
This image made available by the U.S. National Library of Medicine shows a page from a 1869 catalog of instruments and medical supplies with diagrams of various models of stethoscopes. Two centuries after its invention, the stethoscope _ the very symbol of the medical profession _ is facing an uncertain prognosis. It is threatened by hand-held devices that are also pressed against the chest but rely on ultrasound technology, artificial intelligence and smartphone apps instead of doctors’ ears to help detect leaks, murmurs, abnormal rhythms and other problems in the heart, lungs and elsewhere. (National Library of Medicine via AP)
This Aug. 2, 2019 photo shows a Butterfly iQ handheld ultrasound device attached to a tablet on a bed at the Indiana University medical school in Indianapolis. The device shows instant images of the heart and other organs, helping doctors diagnose a range of ailments. (AP Photo/Lindsey Tanner)
In this Aug. 2, 2019 photo, students practice with each other using a Butterfly iQ handheld ultrasound device attached to a tablet during a class at Indiana University medical school in Indianapolis. The device shows instant images of the heart and other organs, helping doctors diagnose a range of ailments. (AP Photo/Lindsey Tanner)
In this Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 photo, a doctor who started practicing medicine in 1955 wears a stethoscope around his neck as he tends to patients in his office in Illinois. Two centuries after its invention, the stethoscope _ the very symbol of the medical profession _ is facing an uncertain prognosis. It is threatened by hand-held devices that are also pressed against the chest but rely on ultrasound technology, artificial intelligence and smartphone apps instead of doctors’ ears to help detect leaks, murmurs, abnormal rhythms and other problems in the heart, lungs and elsewhere. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Is the stethoscope dying? High-tech rivals pose a threat

In this 1915-1923 photo made available by the Library of Congress, a doctor examines a child with a stethoscope, accompanied by a nurse, in the United States. Two centuries after its invention, the stethoscope _ the very symbol of the medical profession _ is facing an uncertain prognosis. It is threatened by hand-held devices that are also pressed against the chest but rely on ultrasound technology, artificial intelligence and smartphone apps instead of doctors’ ears to help detect leaks, murmurs, abnormal rhythms and other problems in the heart, lungs and elsewhere. (Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress via AP)
In this Monday, July 8, 2019 photo, James Thomas, a cardiologist at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago examines Dennis Calling, a retired Chicago inspector. With medical advances and competing devices over the past few decades, "the old stethoscope is kind of falling on hard times in terms of rigorous training," says Thomas. "Some recent studies have shown that graduates in internal medicine and emergency medicine may miss as many of half of (heart) murmurs using a stethoscope."(AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)
In this Monday, July 8, 2019 photo, James Thomas, a cardiologist at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago examines Dennis Calling, a retired Chicago inspector using Eko Duo, a new device for cardiovascular screening. Northwestern is involved in a study testing the new artificial intelligence technology which combines a stethoscope with an electrocardiogram. To improve detection of heart murmurs the system uses an algorithm based on recordings of thousands of heartbeats. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)
This image made available by the University of Michigan shows the 1960 painting "Laennec and the Stethoscope" by Robert Thom, depicting Dr. Theophile Laennec examining a young patient at Necker Hospital in Paris, France, in 1816. Laennec’s invention made it easier to hear heart and lung sounds than pressing an ear against the chest. Rubber tubes, earpieces and the often cold metal attachment that is placed against the chest came later, helping to amplify the sounds. (From the collection of Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan, Gift of Pfizer Inc. via AP)
This image made available by the U.S. National Library of Medicine shows a page from a 1869 catalog of instruments and medical supplies with diagrams of various models of stethoscopes. Two centuries after its invention, the stethoscope _ the very symbol of the medical profession _ is facing an uncertain prognosis. It is threatened by hand-held devices that are also pressed against the chest but rely on ultrasound technology, artificial intelligence and smartphone apps instead of doctors’ ears to help detect leaks, murmurs, abnormal rhythms and other problems in the heart, lungs and elsewhere. (National Library of Medicine via AP)
This Aug. 2, 2019 photo shows a Butterfly iQ handheld ultrasound device attached to a tablet on a bed at the Indiana University medical school in Indianapolis. The device shows instant images of the heart and other organs, helping doctors diagnose a range of ailments. (AP Photo/Lindsey Tanner)
In this Aug. 2, 2019 photo, students practice with each other using a Butterfly iQ handheld ultrasound device attached to a tablet during a class at Indiana University medical school in Indianapolis. The device shows instant images of the heart and other organs, helping doctors diagnose a range of ailments. (AP Photo/Lindsey Tanner)
In this Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 photo, a doctor who started practicing medicine in 1955 wears a stethoscope around his neck as he tends to patients in his office in Illinois. Two centuries after its invention, the stethoscope _ the very symbol of the medical profession _ is facing an uncertain prognosis. It is threatened by hand-held devices that are also pressed against the chest but rely on ultrasound technology, artificial intelligence and smartphone apps instead of doctors’ ears to help detect leaks, murmurs, abnormal rhythms and other problems in the heart, lungs and elsewhere. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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