We're receiving many requests for information on recording heart and lung sounds. We're working on adding information to the site to help you, but here's a quick scoop:
1. The stethoscope includes cables for recording sounds, and for using the stethoscope as headphones. (Not all headphones reproduce low-frequency heart murmurs as well the the ds32a does, so using the stethoscope in headphone mode is beneficial.)
2. You can record on almost any good-quality recording device with Line or Mic inputs. The supplied cable has a simple 1/8" (3.5mm) plug, so it's compatible with the world outside. (We're big fans of open source and connectivity, so we make things as standard as possible.) Caution - you MUST use battery-operated equipment for safety reasons. Do not connect the scope to mains-powered notebooks or desktop PC's, but a notebook on batteries is fine.
3. In terms of recording devices:
a. Our top choice right now is the new iPod Nano, using an Xtrememac Micromemo recording attachment. The recording quality is excellent, and the user interface, well, it's an iPod, so it's wonderfully easy to use.
b. The iRiver T30 is a low-cost solution (less than $100). This is a very small mp3 player with built-in recording. The quality is also excellent, but the user interface is less convenient than the iPod. A few more button clicks to get it into record.
c. Other digital recorders would work , but the quality is difficult to predict unless you try it. But since the scope comes with the cables, it's easy to test recording with any recorder you might already own.
d. Notebook computers - this is a nice way to record, since you can watch the waveforms, but of course, it's less mobile than the above approaches.
e. tablet Computer - more convenient. Quality depends on the audio port provided.
4. Files - Once you have the files on an iPod or other recorder, simply plug the device into your USB port, and drag and drop the files into your medical records, or other folder on your computer.
5. Phonocardiograms and viewing files - use Audacity. It's free software that allows you to open and view waveforms, edit waveforms, etc. We'll post it on our website soon, but until then, go to the Audacity website
6. Quality - the recording is a function of the device. The units recommended above will produce recordings that will be essentially indistinguishable from the patient. The critical piece is to listen with the right headphones. Usinng your ds32a scope will provide great results. In the future, we'll make some headphone recommendations. Remember the bad old days when recordings used for teaching sounded nothing like an actual stethoscope you use clinically?
We'll post this information on the website itself soon. Meanwhile, hopefully this is helpful to all of you.
As always, please comment or write to us about this, or other topics. There are many people doing recordings, and we'd like to hear from you, so please write.