Although cardiac auscultation remains important to detect abnormal sounds and murmurs indicative of cardiac pathology, the application of electronic methods remains seldom used in everyday clinical practice. In this report we provide preliminary data showing how the phonocardiogram can be analyzed using color spectrographic techniques and discuss how such information may be of future value for noninvasive cardiac monitoring.
We digitally recorded the phonocardiogram using a high-speed USB interface and the program Gold Wave http://www.goldwave.com in 55 infants and adults with cardiac structural disease as well as from normal individuals and individuals with innocent murmurs. Color spectrographic analysis of the signal was performed using Spectrogram (Version 16) as a well as custom MATLAB code.
We expect the application of spectrographic techniques to phonocardiography to grow substantially as ongoing research demonstrates its utility in various clinical settings. Our evaluation of a simple, low-cost phonocardiographic recording and analysis system to assist in determining the characteristic features of heart murmurs shows promise in helping distinguish innocent systolic murmurs from pathological murmurs in children and is expected to useful in other clinical settings as well.