3M taps Eko for new Littmann digital stethoscope

3M, maker of the ubiquitous Littmann stethoscope brand, has teamed up with Eko to create a new digital version that aims to amplify sounds and incorporate artificial intelligence listening algorithms.

The two companies are launching the Littmann CORE Digital Stethoscope, built off of 3M’s cardiology-focused model. It promises to be able to amplify subtle heart sounds up to 40 times while canceling out unwanted background noise. 

It can also wirelessly connect to Eko’s AI-powered telemedicine software to help detect potential murmurs in saved recordings, enabling healthcare providers to screen for conditions that typically require a trained specialist to diagnose.

"This combination is a gamechanger—allowing a physician in rural America or a nurse treating patients in a non-office setting to have access to cutting-edge clinical decision support," said 3M’s senior director of medical devices, Kristi Barnett.

The stethoscope can quickly toggle between analog and digital listening modes, which can also provide visualizations of sound data during an exam, and is equipped with diaphragms for both adults and children.

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“For clinicians, listening is a gateway to making critical diagnoses,” said Eko co-founder and CEO Connor Landgraf. “Being able to confidently assess heart and lung sounds helps ensure the best cardiac and pulmonary care possible.”

“Partnering with 3M Littmann Stethoscopes allows us to incorporate the power of our digital and machine learning technology alongside the stethoscope trusted by millions of clinicians worldwide, which can help impact patient outcomes and quality of care,” Landgraf said.

Eko’s AI received an FDA clearance for the detection of heart murmurs this past January, in addition to the ability to detect cases of atrial fibrillation using the single-lead ECG on its Duo digital stethoscope. The company recently paired up with AstraZeneca to weave its technology into the drugmaker’s clinical studies in cardiovascular disease and heart failure.