Articles Categorized in: Uncategorized

Examining the 3M Littmann Stethoscope Warranty

3M/Littmann offers one of the most robust warranty programs of any stethoscope manufacturer on the market. While rugged and reliable, manufacturing imperfections and damage events do occur with Littmann stethoscopes. In addition to their warranty period, 3M is good about offering reasonable repair options for those who find their stethoscope in need of restoration outside warranty coverage. Owners can contact 3M directly through their website to get quotes for repairs.   Littmann Stethoscope warranty limits by model: Littmann® Master Cardiology™...
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Copper: The Choice Alloy for Stethoscopes?

While the use of various metals for their anti-microbial properties is not a new concept, a recent study published in the American Journal of Infection Control is pointing to the potential hygiene benefit of of copper as a primary metal in stethoscopes. The full text of the study,  Antimicrobial copper alloys decreased bacteria on stethoscope surfaces, describes the methodology used to examine the effect of copper on stethoscope bacterial loads. Stethoscopes are well known to be carriers of bacteria between...
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The Future of Stethoscopes

The stethoscope is established as an icon and key diagnostic tool in medical care. For the better part of 200 years it has steadily climbed to have significant symbolic status, as well as saturation in our healthcare system. Some industry experts and medical professionals are beginning to question what the future holds for this device as medical technology advances. Many medical providers put more emphasis on incorporating newer diagnostics into their practice which provide stronger evidence for diagnosis. There is...
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Infection control: What is the best practice for stethoscopes?

We can’t avoid the presence of germs on our stethoscopes. It is just a part microbiology and the world we live in. Unfortunately, in the process of caring for multiple patients we have the potential to carry these contaminants between patients. Potentially causing an infection that could have otherwise been prevented. The stethoscope becomes a fomite in this setting, an object on which disease is carried and transmitted. For any healthcare provider this becomes a major concern. A quick review...
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The Sound of Crackles in the Lungs via Stethoscope

Crackles are a common sound auscultated in the lungs. They are also sometimes referred to as crepitations, or rales. Crackles are caused by the sudden opening  of smaller airways and alveoli collapsed by fluid or secretions. Crackles are classified by several different factors. Their pitch and sound characteristics Fine- high pitched and brief Medium Coarse- lower pitched and more prolonged Where they occur in the breathing cycle Inspiratory (common) Expiratory (less common)   A few common causes of crackles include:...
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How to Auscultate Heart Sounds

Like all patient assessments, the assessment of the cardiovascular system and heart needs to be done in a systematic manner. Each patient should have the same general pattern of assessment and technique used. Developing a good technique for listening to the heart prevents key information from being missed, and helps the practitioner organize their thoughts and assessment of the heart. Ideally you should listen to the heart with the stethoscope against the patient’s skin. This is especially important if you...
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How ‘The View’ got Nurses, Doctors, and Stethoscopes all Wrong

Stethoscopes are not just for use by doctors. If there was any question about that then the firestorm surrounding Miss Colorado and some uneducated comments from the Joy Behar of ‘The View’ fame has put that to rest. When she stepped before the cameras Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson probably had no clue that her outstanding monologue on being a nurse during the Miss America pageant would turn into a national incident with thousands of nurses up in arms. The hosts...
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History of the Stethoscope

The origin of the stethoscope can be traced back to 19th Century France. René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laennec was a French physician who was uncomfortable placing his head on the chest of women to listen to their hearts. His invention of the what he called the stethoscope can be pinned to the year 1816. The original stethoscope was simple in design and existed primarily in the form of a solid tube structure with flared ends. Although simple, the original design marked the departure...
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Anatomy of the Stethoscope

Earpiece The earpiece allows for a tight seal between the user and the tubing of the stethoscope. They are commonly found in either plastic or rubber. Ear Tubes or Binaural The ear tubes aka binaural, help provide a rigid structure for the user end of the stethoscope. In combination with the spring they help to hold the stethoscope in the ears during use. Tubing The tubing carries the sound waves from the chest piece to the ear pieces. Single tube...
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