The electronic stethoscope, which was created as a result of a coronavirus pandemic, can also be used to teach future doctors, in developing countries or even in space, said Slovak doctor Aleš Svoboda, who works in the Department of Anesthesiology, Resuscitation and Intensive Care. at the Motol University Hospital in Prague.
The full-length protective suits that paramedics had to wear in the covid room made it difficult or even impossible to use basic medical tools.
“A normal stethoscope requires the olives (the silicone balls at the end) to be put on the ears, which was not possible in these protective suits,” Svoboda said.
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The principle of the Elfon device, which Svoboda built himself at home, is to turn the sound of heartbeats or lungs working into an electrical signal. Then, the paramedic listens to him with large headphones that can be worn on the head and ears even through a protective suit.
Until then there were similar devices in the world until then, but, as Svoboda states, at the time of the beginning of the pandemic (early 2020) these devices were not available in our country (in the Czech Republic and Slovakia), so he had to help me. “
In addition, many electronic stethoscopes available require a smartphone with the right application to function properly. The Svoboda device is simple, has easy maintenance and several months of battery life. After the prototype was demonstrated in practice, Svoboda and his colleagues produced more pieces. At the end of the third wave of the pandemic, two dozen of these devices were used in Motol.
Meanwhile, the Covid department of this largest Czech hospital has closed, but according to Svoboda, the electronic stethoscope can also be used elsewhere. In June, it was tested in an underwater laboratory as part of the Czech Hydronaut project, which in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) simulates a stay in space. The device was used to monitor the health of the crew during the dive.
Because the device can make an audio recording of the exam, which can be edited and sent over the Internet, you can also find its use in distance education or health care.
These are telemedicine and diagnostic devices that can also be used remotely and that can alleviate the congested health system or allow care to be provided in remote locations in developing countries.
The device is already officially registered as a medical device by the Czech State Drug Control Institute (SÚKL), adds Svoboda.