We’ve covered a range of smart stethoscope devices and applications, such as Eko Connect smart stethoscopes and StethoMe’s wireless stethoscope. We also wrote about ResApp Health’s smartphone app, ResApp, developed to differentiate between types of coughs. A European collaboration recently published a study in the European Heart Journal Digital Health that found that non-medical personnel could record good-quality heart sounds using a standard smartphone.

London-based Cellule Design Studio developed the Echoes app, in partnership with King’s College London and the University of Maastricht. After the app’s May 2021 launch, a research team collected 7,597 heart sound recordings from 1,148 anonymized users. According to the study report, more than 80% of the users were able to make at least one good-quality heart sound recording, in most cases within the first three attempts. The Echoes app is an iOS app limited to iPhones, but the research team doesn’t make any statements that suggest Android smartphones would not perform as well.

The study did determine that user success in making a good heart sound recording decreased with the user’s age, but other tested factors did not make a difference. Specifically, the model iPhone didn’t matter, nor did sex or BMI level.

The study authors mentioned limitations such as user population, eyeballing recording quality, and short recording durations. However, the potential benefits from untrained users able to capture medically useful heart sound recordings with their own smartphones are an exciting addition to the scope of remote patient monitoring.