Doctors Could Stop Using Stethoscopes

3:44 PM, Jan 24, 2014   |    comments
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CBS -- The days of the stethoscope could be numbered. Some medical experts say advances in technology could make the classic device obsolete.

This device could soon spell the end for the 200 year old stethoscope.

Dr. Jagat Narula of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York wrote an editorial in the journal Global Heart suggesting that handheld ultrasound devices offer faster, more accurate diagnoses than traditional physical exams and should become standard care.

Ultrasound uses sound waves to reflect images from inside the body. Experts say it's safe, radiation-free and painless. Dr. Bret Nelson says his Emergency department uses it to diagnose almost everything. 

But some cardiologists argue that ultrasound may not be the best device for all doctors because extensive training is necessary to read the images accurately.

Cost is another factor . A handheld ultrasound costs thousands of dollars.  And while the price is expected to drop significantly in the coming years , the stethoscope runs under 25 dollars. 

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