On campus at Duke: Lost stethoscope leads to groundbreaking discovery

Duke engineers and physicians work together to detect cardiac complications in LVAD patients

In patients who have reached end-stage heart failure, left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) help weakened hearts pump blood throughout the body. While the devices help to prolong life, they also come with complications.

Ravi Karra, assistant professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center, is an LVAD expert. When he replaced his lost stethoscope with a more sensitive digital version, Karra noticed an audible difference in the LVADs of patients who were experiencing cardiac complications.

A recent article published by the Pratt School of Engineering describes how Karra’s discovery led to a partnership with engineering researchers to better understand the mechanics of LVADs and how patterns in audio cues could help detect complications well before they reach life-threatening stages.

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TAGS: On Campus at Duke Duke Health Pratt School of Engineering

About the author

Brandy Chieco


Brandy oversees marketing and communications, events and special initiatives for the Office of Gift Planning. She works closely with donors who are featured in Duke Magazine, the Blueprints blog and other publications. She also works closely with development teams, schools and alumni volunteers as part of our comprehensive reunion efforts. Prior to joining the team, Brandy worked in marketing, human resources and banking. She received her B.A. degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. When she is not in the office, Brandy enjoys local theatre, exploring the diverse Durham food scene and spending quality time with her husband and son.