Innovation

Stethoscope of the future?

New UTMB School of Medicine course replaces old device with mobile technology


DSC_0787
By KirstiAnn Clifford | November 9, 2017

For the past two centuries, the stethoscope has been the iconic symbol of medicine. But if you ask Dr. Masood Ahmad, that could soon change.

As a professor of internal medicine and director of UTMB’s Echocardiography Lab, Ahmad has implemented a new course for second-year medical students in Point of Care Echocardiography. Instead of using a stethoscope to “auscultate,” or listen for heart sounds, students are trained to use a small portable ultrasound device that can get real-time images of the heart right at the bedside.

“Traditionally, every doctor carries a stethoscope and it is a very effective tool if you are well-trained, but the reality is we don’t have as many well-trained doctors who can use the stethoscope as we did in the old days,” said Ahmad. “As technology advances, we need to get students and physicians trained in using this handheld device, which weighs less than a pound and can obtain images with accuracy comparable to a large 400-pound scanner.”

Over a two-week period, students are introduced to sonography, receiving several hours of lectures followed by hands-on experience in the lab. As one of eight students in the first point of care echocardiography class, Paul Brindley said it was a great opportunity to learn about the new technology and how it can be more accurate than using a stethoscope alone.

“There have been studies showing medical students who had just a handful of hours learning how to do this correctly were able to diagnose cardiac abnormalities more frequently than board-certified cardiologists using stethoscopes, which is incredible,” he said. “It’s simple to use, but there is a technique to it—it has to be in a very specific spot and manipulated just right to get quality images, so that’s what we are practicing now.”

UTMB joins a large number of medical schools across the country that are implementing point of care echocardiography training in the undergraduate curriculum. After receiving positive feedback from the first class of medical students, Ahmad said he plans on offering the two-week course every semester.

Handheld ultrasound devices are being used in UTMB hospitals, but not widely—yet. Ahmad hopes there will be a time when all physicians and general practitioners have their own ultrasound devices—it will enable them to see how a heart functions instead of just guessing.

“There is always resistance in the beginning when a new technology is introduced,” said Ahmad. “The answer is training our physicians at an early stage while they are still in medical school so they are comfortable with this new technology and can use it in accurate assessment of cardiac patients. In this case, seeing is better than hearing.”




Social Posts

profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

RT @BCMHouston_News: Tune in to @FOX26Houston tomorrow in the 8 am hour to hear @bcmhouston's Dr. El-Serag discuss the recent CDC report on…

18 mins ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

#Cancerpain can be related to the disease and treatment. Hear from Dr. Salahadin Abdi on how patients can find relief. #endcancer https://t.co/snFVjDUjNe

35 mins ago
profile_image

TexasHeartInstitute

@Texas_Heart

RT @HealthyWomen: 10 Sneaky Ways to Get Fruits and Veggies in Your #Diet: https://t.co/wJ9x39147k #health https://t.co/EWktCmct2J

35 mins ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Volunteers to honor Korean War vets on 65th anniversary of Armistice https://t.co/DF1iXhD8ey via @Cadillacnews

55 mins ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

RT @BCMHouston_News: Certain nail products can cause allergic reactions or irritations. @bcmhouston's Dr. Katta shares what to look out for…

1 hour ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

@ParrotsMatter @TargetedOnc @michaelwangmd Hi, yes we are. Here's a list of current clinical trials: https://t.co/JgHpaIKBbX. Best wishes to you.

1 hour ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

RT @MDAndersonTrial: A phase I/Ib study of concurrent intravenous and intrathecal nivolumab for patients with leptomeningeal disease (LMD)…

1 hour ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

RT @RiceAthletics: To celebrate #WorldEmojiDay, check out our favorite mascot @SammyTheOwl! 🦉👐 https://t.co/ebIKcsu2Z9

2 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Learn how the Food and Drug Administration is helping put a stop to bioterrorism with new approved smallpox drug. https://t.co/yDqQg4QieY #news

2 hours ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

RT @abc13houston: A workout injury can happen to anyone, no matter your experience or fitness level. Learn about treatment options and how…

2 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Marine Veteran makes second trek across US to raise awareness for PTSD https://t.co/VUiSTEsGK9 via @Ahlex3889

2 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @EnrollatUH: It's #WorldEmojiDay and honestly the only emoji that matters is 🐾🐾🐾.

2 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @rae_laynee: #OfficialCoog 🐾 https://t.co/zLRTRRiPPl

2 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @Ryan_Roache: Happy to be home 🐾❤️ #OfficialCoog #UH22 ( pc: @clever_violin ) https://t.co/GINnXqZdLk

2 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

.@RiceEngineering students built the skyscraper of the future for the 2018 EERI Seismic Design Competition. Not only was their building beautiful, it was able to withstand all of the test shaking. Learn more: https://t.co/hXySGAokqS https://t.co/5oWOlAXOsp

2 hours ago