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Development of laser-based heart sound detection system

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DOI: 10.4236/jbise.2012.51005    4,716 Downloads   9,268 Views   Citations


In this paper, we demonstrate the prototype of a new stethoscope using laser technology to make the heart-beat signal “visible”. This heartbeat detection technique could overcome the limitation of the acoustic stethoscope brought by the poor ability of human ear to hear low frequency heart sounds. This is important, as valuable information from sub-audio sounds is present at frequencies below the range of human hearing. Moreover, the diagnostic accuracy of the acoustic stethoscope is also very sensitive to noise from immediate environment. In the prototype of laser-based stethoscope, the heartbeat signal is correlated to the optical spot of a laser beam reflected from a thin mirror attached to the patient’s chest skin. The motion of the mirror with the chest skin is generated by the heart sounds. A linear optical sensor is applied to detect and record the motion of the optical spot, from which the heartbeat signal in time-domain is extracted. The heartbeat signal is then transformed to frequency domain through digital signal processing. Both time-domain and frequency-domain signals are analyzed in order to classify different type of heart murmurs. In the prototype of the laser-based stethoscope, we use a heart-sound box to simulate the chest of a human being. The heart-sounds collected from real patients are applied to activate the vibration of the heart-sound box. We also analyze different heart murmur patterns based on the time-domain and frequency-domain heartbeat signals acquired from the optical system.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Bai, J. , Sileshi, G. , Nordehn, G. , Burns, S. and Wittmers, L. (2012) Development of laser-based heart sound detection system. Journal of Biomedical Science and Engineering, 5, 34-37. doi: 10.4236/jbise.2012.51005.


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