On campus at Duke: Lost stethoscope leads to groundbreaking discovery
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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