The stethoscope is one of the most commonly used medical instruments. A stethoscope is an amazing instrument that used to non-invasively listen to the internal sounds of the human body including heart, lungs, intestines, and veins/arteries. The disc-shaped resonator is positioned against the part of the body that is being examined and the earpieces placed in the healthcare provider’s ears. The rubber tubing transmits the audible sounds. A stethoscope can be combined with a sphygmomanometer to measure blood pressure.
A French physician, René Laennec, invented the stethoscope in the early 1800’s. René Laennec needed a better way to listen to patients’ hearts without placing his ear on their chests. He especially didn’t like this format for listening to the heart of female patients. His early stethoscopes were tubes made from wood. Dr. Laennec named his new device the stethoscope because it means chest scope.
The original stethoscopes were monaural (designed for one ear). In the 1850’s the design changed to the modern binaural stethoscope we commonly see today. Binaural stethoscopes have two ear pieces with plastic or rubber ends for comfort.
Today’s stethoscopes come with a range of features and in many styles to match the needs of all medical providers. Popular manufacturers like 3M, ADC, and Welch Allyn make accurate, reliable, and affordable stethoscopes for a wide range of medical professionals.
Stethoscopes range from low cost disposable stethoscopes to fully featured electronic stethoscopes. Some stethoscopes are tunable allowing the healthcare provider to hear high or low frequency sounds by changing pressure on the chestpiece. High-end, electronic stethoscopes amplify sounds. Some electronic stethoscopes can record and save patient exams and transmit sounds via Bluetooth to nearby devices.
Below is information highlighting some commonly used and advanced stethoscopes.
3M Littmann Classic II stethoscopes come in a dozen different colors and are value priced at under $100. Accessories like soft-sealing eartips and identification tags can be added to further personalize each stethoscope beyond the rainbow of available options. The 3M Littmann Electronic Stethoscope 3200 combines Ambient Noise Reduction technology and frictional noise dampening features with amplification, Bluetooth® technology, and an all-new user interface, for the next level of performance and ease of use.
ADC offers several options like the Adimals 618 Platinum Stethoscope with snap-on animal faces and the classic Adscope 606 Ultra-Light Cardiology Stethoscope that provides superior performance at a fraction of the weight. ADC even offers disposable one-time use stethoscopes like the ADC Disposable Stethoscope Proscope 664.
The Welch Allyn Harvey Elite offers updated styling along with the superior comfort and auscultation capabilities that cardiologists have come to rely on. It is equipped with dual-bore tubing that creates two uninterrupted sound channels and works with the optimally weighted, rugged, and stainless steel chest pieces. In addition, the Elite's diaphragm is designed to accentuate important sounds all this enables you to hear cardiac, pulmonary and vascular sounds. The Welch Allyn Harvey DLX Stethoscope has a Double Head and a Triple Head option.
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