MetaMedical™ Solutions Inc

Sparrow launches FDA-approved phone stethoscope device in the US

Sparrow BioAcoustics has launched a phone stethoscope app, Stethophone, which turns a smartphone into a medical-grade stethoscope in the US.

The device was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a breakthrough software as a medical device in June 2023. The device uses the phone’s built-in microphone to capture heart and lung sounds, which can then be analysed and shared. 

Along with capturing heart and lung sounds, the software also visualises them to allow for diagnostics and interpretation of the captured sounds. The software catches the sounds by placing the smartphone on a patient’s chest.

Sparrow BioAcoustics plans to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into the next integration of the app.

The market for regulated medical apps is expected to be worth about $12.2bn by 2030, as per GlobalData market analysis. Concurrently, the AI market was worth approximately $93bn in 2023, as per GlobalData analysis.

The Stethophone software can capture “gallops, murmurs and arrhythmias indicative of numerous progressive cardiac diseases”. According to Sparrow, the visualisations offered by the software can be used to recognise patterns and abnormalities in heart sounds that are not easily discernible with conventional cardiac diagnostics.

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The company reported that 70% of medical professionals rated Stethophone as superior in diagnostic sound performance compared to other devices in trials carried out at Eastern Health Medical Centre of Newfoundland. Additionally, the app exhibited significantly superior performance in correctly diagnosing heart pathologies and normal heart conditions.

Multiple apps have been developed by different companies that can help diagnose and track health parameters. Last September, the Natural Cycle app received 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use wrist temperature data from Apple Watch. The app tracks daily hormone-driven temperature changes to assess the user’s fertility.

In June 2023, Apple launched an update to its health app that included new mental health tracking features. The app has users describe their mental state by using a slide bar on a scale from very unpleasant to pleasant. It also prompts users to tag emotions with their experiences. The app then analyses this data along with sleep and exercise and provides insights so individuals can manage their overall health.

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