So, I recorded my chest. What now?

The sounds emitted by your heart and lungs (chest sounds) contain an enormous amount of information about the condition and health.  More than just your heart rate, these sounds can tell doctors how blood is flowing through your heart, the condition of your heart valves, if there is any structural damage to the heart muscle or if dangerous arrhythmias are present and more.  Heart disease is often quiet, it progresses without us knowing about it and so early detection is critical.  

If you feel symptomatic 

The problem is symptoms can come and go, or be subtle and mistakenly deemed innocent.  That is why we think you should record your heart sounds whenever you feel symptomatic or even concerned about your heart.  Feeling faint, or slightly out of breath or feeling a “flutter” in your chest is probably nothing to worry about.  But these and other symptoms and feelings are also associated with the progression of heart disease, so recording your heart when these happen is important. Think of it like a thermometer for your heart.

Even if you don’t

In many cases, however, people develop heart conditions and don’t exhibit any symptoms at all.  Even in this case, anomalies in your heart sounds will help doctors determine if further testing is needed. The best place to record these heart sounds is at home.

There are two things you should do with these recordings:

1 – If you suspect something is wrong, share them with your doctor.  Take them with you to your next exam.  Explain the symptoms or concerns you had when you made the recording and ask them to review the audio and video output. You can also send these electronically. Either way, augmenting your dialogue with a doctor using real medical data is good for you, it’s good for your health and it’s good for your peace of mind. Even if the symptoms are absent during the visit, the information you collected needs to be considered seriously. When doctors have the right information and patients take an active role in their own health, there is a greater chance they get the right care at the right time.

2 – Keep them, data about your heart is valuable.  Even if its normal today, having a medical baseline is valuable for the future.  Comparing recordings when you are tired or stressed or after indulging in alcohol or certain activities can be used to help you in the future. Our ability to decode and unlock signals in heart sounds can soon be applied to historic data, providing valuable profiles of how your heart health is progressing as you progress.


Or just listen…

Simply listening to your heart can be therapeutic. It can bring you closer and more aware of the strength of your body and sense of well-being and health.   It’s a great thing to do when you feel stressed, it’s a great thing to do when you are bored, and it’s one of the better things you can do with your phone.

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