Screening for congenital heart diseases by murmurs using telemedical phonocardiography
A large proportion of congenital heart diseases (CHD) remain undetected during pregnancy or even after birth. Many of them generate turbulent blood flow, resulting heart murmur. Doppler ultrasound cardiotocography (CTG) is suitable for the assessment of the fetal heart rate and some derived parameters, but it is inadequate for detecting heart murmurs. Although comprehensive examination can be carried out with echocardiography, it is expensive and requires expertise; therefore, it is not applicable for widespread screening. This paper presents a new possibility for screening for some CHDs using phonocardiography, which can be combined with Doppler ultrasound CTG as an extension of it. Furthermore it can be carried out at home allowing repeated measurements, which increases also the reliability of filtering out innocent murmurs. The diagnostic capability of this screening method is supported by a large number of evaluated fetal heart sound records. Moreover, according to experiences pregnant women prefer this reliable, easy to use method, which facilitates their examination.