How Building a Better Stethoscope Leads to Healthier Children

One Heartbeat at a Time
by Arvind Thiagarajan, founder and CEO of HD Medical

CHDs are the most common types of birth defects. Worldwide, one out of 100 babies is born with a CHD. India has the highest rate of CHDs in the world due to a variety of factors ranging from population density to prevalence of rural populations to uninformed healthcare behavior. Almost 300,000 children are born with the conditions every year. Of those, almost 25 percent – almost 90,000 or more – don’t survive until their first birthday. That means more than 250 children die either because the condition isn’t detected early enough for surgery or they can’t afford a surgery because they come from underprivileged backgrounds.

Early screening is a first step but there are multiple prevailing issues. Conventional stethoscopes used for screening have resulted in high false positives and false negatives when used by non-specialists and health workers. While the Ultrasound Echocardiogram is a more accurate alternative, it’s expensive and requires trained medical professionals to interpret results.

HD Medical has screened more than 50,000 children in India for congenital heart defects (CHDs) using its HD Steth™ technology. These screenings were conducted at multiple locations in India and helped save more than 35 lives to date. The children diagnosed with CHD were provided life-saving treatments and surgeries by the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospitals.

HD Steth is the only FDA-cleared device with three product codes and proven clinical accuracy. In India, it was tested and validated through a clinical study involving 1,200 children, with 91 percent sensitivity and 99 percent specificity for detecting heart murmurs caused by CHDs compared to Ultrasound Echocardiograms as a gold standard at the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital at Raipur, Chhattisgarh State in Central India. Based on this study, HD Steth was adopted in a large CHD screening program at their group hospitals and medical screening programs at multiple locations in India. They screened more than 52,000 children, confirmed that more than 90 had CHDs and saved more than 36 lives with heart surgeries. HD Medical plans to expand the screenings to over 500,000 children worldwide.

Diagnosing these children early can help those with non-critical CHDs lead normal lives with medical management. For those who need surgical intervention in India as well as in other underserved areas of the world, it can be difficult to find financial support for those treatments. Non-profit organizations such as the Heart to Heart Foundation help children in developing countries who are born with CHDs receive free pediatric cardiac surgeries. At HD Medical, we believe we can save children using early screening, detection and timely intervention.


About HD Medical, Inc.

HD Medical, Inc. is a Silicon Valley-based innovator of digital health solutions for AI-enabled detection and management of cardiovascular disease (CVD). HD Steth™ has been awarded FDA clearance (K201299). The company delivers intelligent cardiac care solutions and products globally to medical professionals and institutions through channel partners and through the Company’s website. Visit