Artificial Intelligence-Assisted Auscultation of Heart Murmurs: Validation by Virtual Clinical Trial

W. Reid Thompson, Andreas J. Reinisch, Michael J. Unterberger, Andreas J. Schriefl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Artificial intelligence (AI) has potential to improve the accuracy of screening for valvular and congenital heart disease by auscultation. However, despite recent advances in signal processing and classification algorithms focused on heart sounds, clinical acceptance of this technology has been limited, in part due to lack of objective performance data. We hypothesized that a heart murmur detection algorithm could be quantitatively and objectively evaluated by virtual clinical trial. All cases from the Johns Hopkins Cardiac Auscultatory Recording Database (CARD) with either a pathologic murmur, an innocent murmur or no murmur were selected. The test algorithm, developed independently of CARD, analyzed each recording using an automated batch processing protocol. 3180 heart sound recordings from 603 outpatient visits were selected from CARD. Algorithm estimation of heart rate was similar to gold standard. Sensitivity and specificity for detection of pathologic cases were 93% (CI 90–95%) and 81% (CI 75–85%), respectively, with accuracy 88% (CI 85–91%). Performance varied according to algorithm certainty measure, age of patient, heart rate, murmur intensity, location of recording on the chest and pathologic diagnosis. This is the first reported comprehensive and objective evaluation of an AI-based murmur detection algorithm to our knowledge. The test algorithm performed well in this virtual clinical trial. This strategy can be used to efficiently compare performance of other algorithms against the same dataset and improve understanding of the potential clinical usefulness of AI-assisted auscultation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-629
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019


  • Algorithms
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Auscultation
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Physical diagnosis/cardiovascular
  • Valvular heart disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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