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The regulation of medical devices is specific to each country. Currently different versions of Stethophone are recognized as a medical device in the USA and Ukraine. This means that Stethophone is available for residence of these countries. We are working on offering Stethophone in more countries in the future.

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Diagnosing Heart Disease: Understanding Key Tests and Objectives
Jul 12, 2023

Each test in the diagnostic cycle serves a distinct purpose, aiming to provide insights into various aspects of heart health.

The diagnostic journey for heart disease is a critical process that involves a series of tests designed to evaluate the health of the cardiovascular system. Each test in the diagnostic cycle serves a distinct purpose, aiming to provide insights into various aspects of heart health. Let’s explore the key tests and their objectives in this comprehensive diagnostic process.

Auscultation (Bioacoustics)

Auscultation involves listening to the heart sounds using a stethoscope. It is a fundamental part of the diagnostic process for heart disease. The primary objectives of auscultation include:

  • Detecting abnormal heart sounds (murmurs) that may indicate heart valve disorders or other structural issues.
  • Assessing the rhythm and rate of the heartbeat.
  • Listening for additional sounds such as extra heart sounds or gallops that might indicate underlying cardiac conditions and structural abnormalities of the heart. In some cases abnormal heart sounds (such as a Ventricular gallop) can indicate acute and highly advanced disease requiring immediate life-saving intervention.

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)

The electrocardiogram is often the initial test performed in the diagnostic cycle for heart disease. It records the electrical activity of the heart over a brief period. The primary objectives of an ECG include:

  • Detecting irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) such as atrial fibrillation, bradycardia, or tachycardia.
  • Identifying signs of ischemia or insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle.
  • Evaluating the overall electrical activity and rhythm of the heart.


An echocardiogram is a non-invasive imaging test that uses ultrasound to create detailed images of the heart’s structure and function. The key objectives of an echocardiogram include:

  • Assessing the size and pumping function of the heart chambers.
  • Detecting structural abnormalities, such as heart valve defects or congenital heart conditions or damage from heart attacks
  • Evaluating blood flow direction and speed

Stress Test

A stress test, also known as an exercise stress test or treadmill test, evaluates how the heart performs under physical stress. The main goals of a stress test are to:

  • Monitor changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and ECG patterns during exercise.
  • Identify reduced blood flow to the heart muscles, indicating potential blockages in coronary arteries.
  • Assess overall cardiovascular fitness and capacity.

Cardiac Catheterization (Angiogram)

Cardiac catheterization involves the insertion of a catheter into the blood vessels to visualize the coronary arteries and blood flow. The objectives of a cardiac catheterization include:

  • Directly visualizing any blockages or narrowed arteries in the coronary circulation.
  • Determining the severity and location of arterial blockages.
  • Guiding potential interventions such as angioplasty or stent placement.

Blood Tests

Blood tests, including lipid profiles, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), and troponin levels, offer insights into different aspects of heart health. The main objectives of blood tests are to:

  • Measure cholesterol levels and identify risk factors for atherosclerosis.
  • Assess inflammation levels, as chronic inflammation can contribute to heart disease.
  • Detect troponin, a protein released during heart muscle damage, indicating a heart attack.

Biomarker Assessment (BNP or NT-proBNP)

Brain Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) and its N-terminal fragment (NT-proBNP) are biomarkers released by the heart in response to stress or strain. The key objectives of measuring BNP or NT-proBNP levels include:

  • Assessing heart failure severity and prognosis.
  • Identifying fluid accumulation in the lungs (pulmonary edema).
  • Helping in distinguishing between cardiac and non-cardiac causes of symptoms like shortness of breath.

The diagnostic cycle for heart disease involves a comprehensive approach, using various tests, to gain a thorough understanding of the cardiovascular system’s health. By combining the insights provided by these tests, healthcare professionals can zero in on a diagnosis and develop tailored treatment plans and interventions to manage heart conditions effectively. Heart conditions are generally progressive so early detection in suspected cases helps patients enter the cycle at the right time and with the appropriate urgency.

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