[ti:Will New Devices Replace the Stethoscope?]
[00:01.64]Nearly every U.S. medical school gives new students a white coat and a stethoscope.
[00:09.51]The act is part of a long tradition.
[00:13.52]But it is more than just symbolic.
[00:17.89]Medical schools still teach stethoscope skills.
[00:22.18]Doctors must be able to use them well to get their licenses.
[00:28.32]But the stethoscope, 200 years after its invention, is facing an uncertain future.
[00:37.44]New devices can help doctors find problems in the heart, lungs and other areas.
[00:45.44]They use ultrasound technology, artificial intelligence and smartphone apps.
[00:53.16]Dr. Eric Topol is a world-renowned heart doctor.
[00:57.55]He considers the stethoscope obsolete – in other words, old and out of date.
[01:04.86]It "was OK for 200 years," Topol said.
[01:09.36]But "we need to go beyond that. We can do better."
[01:14.88]Students at Indiana University, one of the nation's largest medical schools, learn stethoscope skills.
[01:23.60]But they also get training in hand-held ultrasound technology.
[01:30.56]The training is part of a program launched there last year
[01:35.64]by Dr. Paul Wallach, one of the school's leaders.
[01:40.84]Five years ago, he created a similar program at the Medical College of Georgia.
[01:48.32]Wallach believes that within the next ten years, hand-held ultrasound devices
[01:54.91]will become part of the usual physical exam, just like the reflex hammer.
[02:02.44]But Wallach added that he isn't ready to declare the stethoscope dead.
[02:07.82]He believes younger doctors will be wearing "a stethoscope
[02:12.25]around the neck and an ultrasound in the pocket."
[02:16.14]Modern-day stethoscopes look different than the first stethoscope.
[02:22.12]It was invented in the early 1800s by Frenchman Rene Laennec.
[02:28.53]But the devices work in basically the same way.
[02:33.91]Sound waves make the device's flat metal area shake.
[02:39.24]The shaking moves the sound through the tubes to the ears.
[02:44.40]But hearing and understanding sounds from the human body requires a trained ear.
[02:52.32]Dr. James Thomas is a heart doctor at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago.
[03:00.00]He says that with medical advances and competing devices,
[03:05.01]some younger doctors are not being trained well on the stethoscope.
[03:11.24]He notes recent studies that medical school graduates in some areas
[03:16.20]"may miss as many as half of murmurs using a stethoscope."
[03:21.64]There is, however, a large price difference between normal stethoscopes and high-tech devices.
[03:30.12]Stethoscopes usually cost under $200,
[03:34.55]compared with at least a few thousand dollars for some of the new devices.
[03:40.22]Dr. Dave Drelicharz has been a doctor for children for more than 10 years.
[03:47.22]He understands the attraction of the newer devices.
[03:51.97]But, he says, until the price comes down, the stethoscope "is still your best tool."
[04:00.60]He said, "During my work hours in my office,
[04:04.28]if I don't have it around my shoulders, it's as though I was feeling almost naked."
[04:11.72]I'm John Russell. 更多聽力請訪問51VOA.COM