Browse Articles

3M Celebrating 50 Years with Littmann

The 3M Company is celebrating the acquisition of Littmann Stethoscopes 50 years ago. Oh if only Dr. David Littmann was able to see where healthcare and his stethoscopes have gone! I truly wonder what he would think about some of the technology we have today, and what we can and cannot do with it. Innovators like Dr. Littmann never stop. Dr. Littmann would probably still be innovating today if he was still alive. We now have digital stethoscopes, Bluetooth, and...
Read More

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™...
Read More

Avoiding Counterfeit Stethoscopes

Counterfeit merchandise is a global problem facing consumers. Last year counterfeit goods cost the global economy $481 billion. Knockoff goods are not isolated to Levi Jeans or Louis Vuitton purses, and the unsuspecting healthcare professional can find themselves buying a knockoff stethoscope. These purchases can cost the customer in two ways 1) Inferior quality/manufacturing standards, and 2) Paying brand name prices for 3rd party products. The intellectual property infringement and damage to the global economy have their own costs that...
Read More

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...
Read More

Cool New Stethoscope Accessory: StethoSafe

Over the weekend we spotted this cool new stethoscope accessory called StethoSafe that is currently in development. StethoSafe appears to answer the need for protection of your stethoscope’s chest piece. If you have ever had your diaphragm or bell damaged during transport this might be the product for you. It is an easy access slip on/off cover that fits over the chest piece of the stethoscope. The cover was developed by Greg Sumner who is a firefighter/paramedic out of Florida....
Read More

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...
Read More

When do I need to buy a new stethoscope?

Stethoscopes are a tool. The people using stethoscopes are skilled workers. Many users are masters of their trade and specialty. Much as a mechanic might wear out a good wrench, individuals working in the medical field eventually reach a time when they need to part ways with their trusty stethoscope and find a new model. Determining when this time has arrived can be difficult, so here is a brief guide to help you anticipate when you might need to consider...
Read More

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...
Read More

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:...
Read More

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...
Read More