The stethoscope has been a vital tool for health professionals since it was invented in 1816 by French physician Rene Laennec.

But a new high-tech device is giving the traditional stethoscope some competition.

HeartBuds is a portable listening device.

It attaches to a smartphone so health care providers can not only hear a heartbeat, but also see it on the screen – and record it.

In a major new test presented at the American Heart Association Sessions meeting in Orlando, HeartBuds was as accurate as traditional stethoscopes in picking up heart murmurs and carotid bruits, the sound which signals blockages in the carotid artery of the neck.

And HeartBuds was more accurate than disposable stethoscopes.

Some hospitals use those to prevent spreading bacteria.

HeartBuds is also disposable, and less expensive.

“You can use a specific stethoscope for a specific patient and not worry about transferring bacteria inadvertently from improper cleaning of a stethoscope that you would normally carry around your neck,” says Valerie Danesh, Ph.D., R.N., a clinical research manager at Orlando Health, and a co-author on the study.

HeartBuds has been on the market for a little while, but had not been scientifically tested for medical usages.

This new study may help clear the way for their use in hospitals and medical centers.

And health professionals say they are just beginning to explore the many uses for HeartBuds.

Patients with chronic illnesses can also use the devices at home.

HeartBuds has been used by athletes to track their training and performance.

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