Malaysia invents computer cardiologist

UPDATED: 13:07, June 21, 2007

Malaysia's researchers invented a computer program, which listens to a patient's heart beat to detect heart disease, local media reported on Thursday.

If the device passes clinical trials, it could be used as a cheap alternative to detect heart disease patients in rural areas where a cardiologist is not available, the New Strait Times said.

The invention, called Computer Cardiologist, is a computer program which processes the systolic and diastolic sounds made by the heart recorded using an electronic stethoscope.

"We are able to find certain rhythms that pinpoint heart murmurs or that the heart valves are not working properly," said Dr Ahmad Fadzil, who led the team of Universiti Teknologi Petronas.

Doctors often used a normal stethoscope to listen to heart sounds to detect problems.

"However, it is inaccurate because human beings are not very good (at it). The issue is how to make it more accurate," he said.

The program was integrated with a system that could evaluate other factors about a patient to determine the nature of his heart problem.

"Each bit of information is given a certain 'weight' used to predict the type of disease," he said.

Currently, the system could detect 15 different types of heart problems.

"We did our research with the National Heart Institute, using about 40 patients. The computer cardiologist can pinpoint the problems with accuracy," he said.

Source: Xinhua

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