Son Uses Grandfather's Heartbeats to Help Save Mom's Life

“I really didn’t notice anything until I was skiing at 10,000 feet and I was more short of breath than I normally get,” Josephson, 54, said. ”I knew there was nothing wrong with my lungs; I never smoked. It was probably my heart.”

Remembering the iPhone app when she returned home, she went to a cardiologist who ordered an echocardiogram, which confirmed the app’s diagnosis: a murmur suggesting mitral valve prolapse and mitral valve regurgitation, which would require surgery.

In mitral valve regurgitation, the valve doesn’t completely shut and instead of the blood moving forward, it goes back a little when the valve tries to shut. Left untreated, it can lead to heart failure and eventual death.

“My father’s dream was to always have this as an educational tool,” she said. “That’s why he produced the CD in the first place. I am sorry he didn’t get to live to see the iPhone app. In his last days, he was always working on a project with heart sounds. He was very active.”

Apple has approved Andrew Josephson’s app and it is now available at the App Store for $19.99. “My audience is mainly the same as my grandfather’s -- nurses, doctors, clinicians, home health care aides and EMTs -- anyone who carries a stethoscope,” he said. “My goal is educational.”

Tina Josephson said her father would have been proud to know his grandson’s app had helped to save his mother’s life. She is scheduled to have surgery for her mitral valve regurgitation in two weeks.

“I have no symptoms,” Tina Josephson said. “I run every day.”

She said her father was never prouder than when three of his four daughters became doctors. And Mason’s grandson will hopefully follow in his footsteps when medical schools send out their letters of acceptance in April.

“The app is something very exciting, though it’s not something I wanted to happen to me,” Tina Josephson said. “I was the daughter of a cardiologist. How could there be anything wrong with my heart?”

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