I’ve been a fan of the Littmann Cardiology III for a long time since I first discovered the capabilities and acoustic qualities that it offered. When I heard that Littmann was preparing to roll out the Cardiology IV I was initially leery of what could be the demise of an infallible design.
I can now say with confidence that 3M/Littmann HAS NOT destroyed their classic cardiology design. The Cardiology IV contains some nice refinements, but does not go so far as to undo what worked in the past. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it right? Correct!
Littmann has made the Cardiology IV stethoscope with the same quality of materials that Littmann products are known for. (It’s no wonder they can offer a 7 year warranty) Littmann has used beautifully machined stainless steel in their chest piece and light yet rugged aluminum headset.
The metal components are enhanced by the fit and stability of connections between the rubber components and the stem of the chest piece. The rotating stem on this model delivers a pronounced click as it seats in either position. The stem is solidly positioned once it clicks, and it leaves no doubt in my mind that it will remain in the chosen position without slipping out.
The rubber fittings are of nice quality as well. Littmann claims to be using a “next-generation tubing” which has their own special formulary of rubber. The tubing on this model is very supple, and doesn’t show any signs of wear after some very aggressive twisting and folding. (while on the topic of folding, yes you can fold this up into a lab coat or scrub pocket easily) The thick double lumen tube is quite comfortable around the neck, and appears to wipe clean easily with most cleaners available in the clinic.
For those of you with a preference of tube length you have a choice of 22″ or 27″ tubing. Of note, there are minimal cracks or crevices on this model which leave territory for accumulation of grime or bacteria. They’ve accomplished this while still providing a nice non-chill diaphragm which you can pull off for deep cleaning if desired.
There is a slight reduction in weight with this model over the Cardiology III. This one is roughly 10 grams lighter. As I’ve mentioned previously I have never felt the Cardiology III to be overly heavy, and the Cardiology IV allows me to continue in this opinion.
Littmann has again utilized its soft sealing snap tight ear tips. These soft rubber tips seal nicely in my ears as they have in other models, and do an excellent job of isolating the sounds you are trying to hear. I frequently have to pull my stethoscope off to hear others speaking around me. I tend to find this an excellent finding in a stethoscope given how good my hearing is at baseline.
I’ve been an outspoken critic of tunable diaphragms in the past, and have no plan of changing that opinion any time soon. That said, I think this model is the best delivery of the tunable diaphragm concept. I say this wanting you to the reader to understand that the acoustics of this tunable diaphragm are the most reproducible of any model I have tried before.
You also have the option to convert the pediatric side into an open bell. The sound quality is consistently wonderful in this model and both cardiac sounds and pulmonary sounds are a joy to listen to. In patients with excessive adventitious breath sounds I can still hear at least an apical pulse with this model, and in many cases can cut through the excessive respiratory noises to hear strong cardiac valve noises. The Cardiology IV delivers crisp S1, S2, S3, and S4 with excellent tonality in murmurs. Overall it offers fantastic cardiac assessment capabilities.
- Double-sided chest piece for use with both adult and pediatric patients
- Two tunable diaphragms respond with a simple pressure change to capture low and high-frequency sounds
- Pediatric side convertible into open bell design
- Two-in-one tube design isolates sounds in each ear.
- Anatomically designed ergonomic aluminum headset
- Comfortable Soft sealing rubber earpieces
- Epoxy/Fiberglass Diaphragms
- Stainless Steel chest piece
- 7 year warranty
- Superior acoustic performance with excellent sound collection via chest piece
- Single tube double lumen design- cuts out background noise
- Tunable diaphragms, and ability to convert to an open bell
- Good balance of weight and with two different lengths to choose from
- Ability to use for wide range of patient populations including pediatrics
- Ergonomic design, and comfortable tubing
- Made in the USA
- It is spendy $$$- high initial cost
- Causing your co-workers to be jealous
- Is over featured for individuals not doing physical assessment
Having been quite happy with the Littmann Cardiology III for years I can say with ease that the Cardiology IV leaves nothing to be desired. The Cardiology IV is a further refined version of the III. The Cardiology IV will provide excellent clinical exam abilities to the next generation of healthcare providers that choose to use it. I cannot find a single thing that I would want changed on this model of stethoscope. It really is the best well rounded stethoscope that Littmann offers, and may very well be the best stethoscope on the market in regard to versatility and scope of uses. My recommendation would be to stick with the Cardiology III if you have it currently, but if you are in need of a replacement or an upgrade from a lesser model of stethoscope then the Littmann Cardiology IV would be the model to go with. The sound performance, workmanship, and overall quality and Littmann backing make this an impressive device that will likely be the envy of your coworkers.