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Best stethoscope to get?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by UserNameNeeded, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. UserNameNeeded

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    Every doc I've talked to told me to get the Littman Cardio II, but Littman discontinued it. So what's the next best thing?

    I've tried a lot of the stethoscopes out and they all sound the same to me-- and that's not a good thing because the sound quality is terrible compared to the Littman Cardio II that I tried at the doctor's office.
     
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  3. Church

    Church Snark-free since 2008

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    What did Littman replace the Cardio II with, and did you get a chance to try that?
     
  4. anon-y-mouse

    anon-y-mouse Senior Member

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    Cardiology II was replaced by Cardiology II SE. Cardiology III is thought to be better than Cardiology II SE, but obviously more expensive.
     
  5. sentrosi

    sentrosi INTARWEB USER

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    I had a friend who bought a Littman Electronic 3000
    http://acousticheart.com/pro626456.html

    Has ambient noise reduction and volume control.


    Every expensive, but I tried it and it's very clear.
     
  6. nosugrefneb

    nosugrefneb (benferguson)

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    I definitely would not get anything that's made for cardiologists, as you probably won't be able to listen for the stuff they're listening for anyway, unless you're on a cards rotation or sub-I, in which case you've just wasted hundreds of dollars on a few weeks' worth of really listening to peoples' heart sounds. I'd just go with the basic Littman if I were you, as that will serve you very well 98% of the time as a med student.
     
  7. rockchalkdoc

    rockchalkdoc Member

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    A friend of mine bought the a cheap stethoscope and can't hear anything in it, he had to go back and buy a littman 3. Our school recommends that you go with at least a Master Classic 2. To look at the list check out http://www.littmanndistributor.com/Pages/products.htm
     
  8. JonnyG

    JonnyG IN the hospitals....

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    The nice thing about the cardio ones are they are very easy to hear things with. Besides its not several hundred dollars for a stethoscope i believe cardiac III are 125.
     
  9. UCLAstudent

    UCLAstudent I'm a luck dragon!

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    I like the Littman Cardio III.
     
  10. VPDcurt

    VPDcurt 2K Member

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    Why is the cardiology 3 so cheap on that site? seems a little bit sketchy to me.
     
  11. Blue Dog

    Blue Dog Fides et ratio.
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    Tunable diaphragms are noticeably inferior to a fixed diaphragm and conventional bell. I've posted extensively about this in other threads, so I won't go into detail. Click here if you're interested.

    Try the Welch-Allyn Harvey Elite. I think it's one of the best current-model stethoscopes you can buy, and they're cheap on eBay.
     
  12. Thievery Corp.

    Thievery Corp. Covert Hipster

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    Kent W,

    That was quite an informative post. I have a question for you then. Since I had purchased a master cardiology (last year) under the impression that it was quite a good stethoscope, any sugestions on how to get the best use out of it?
     
  13. Blue Dog

    Blue Dog Fides et ratio.
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    Sell it on eBay and buy a better stethoscope. ;) (Or, see below .)

    Seriously...it's possible to get good sound out of those things, but they're so finicky that it's hardly worth the effort. The "bell mode" (light pressure) always sounds muffled compared to a real bell, and the "diaphragm mode" requires significant pressure to work properly, and is very hard to maintain as you move the stethoscope around the patient...like continually trying to tune in a faint FM radio station. Too much trouble, IMO.

    If you know somebody who has an old Littmann Cardiology II, an HP/Philips Rappaport-Sprague, or a Welch-Allyn Harvey Elite, ask to borrow their stethoscope...you will hear what you're missing.
     
  14. vtucci

    vtucci Attending in Emergency Medicine
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    Wait until your in school and many schools have equipment sales where the major manufacturers come in and offer things at reduced prices for students.

    I picked up a littman 3 at one of these.
     
  15. nosugrefneb

    nosugrefneb (benferguson)

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    Word. I'm not suggesting buying a ****ty stethoscope. All I'm saying is that you don't need a top-of-the-line stethoscope or one with all this background-reducing, sound-enhancing crap to hear basic heart sounds, for example, unless you're going into cardiology and absolutely need to hear the faintest of abnormalities.
     
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  17. sscooterguy

    sscooterguy Senior Member

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    I'm surprised no one has said it yet, the best stethoscope is the one between your ears. Seriously though, don't get one with cheap hard plastic ear pieces, but I wouldn't spend too much than that on one one either.

    sscooterguy
     
  18. anon-y-mouse

    anon-y-mouse Senior Member

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    Umm, can't you convert the pediatric side of the Cardiology III into a bell?
     
  19. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I think they usually includes some sort of a rim in the package that allows you to make this conversion.
     
  20. Blue Dog

    Blue Dog Fides et ratio.
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    If you put the bell sleeve on and switch the adult diaphragm out for one of these, you'll have a pretty good stethoscope. :thumbup:
     
  21. anon-y-mouse

    anon-y-mouse Senior Member

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    Was this some sort of joke? Every cardiologist I've seen at my local teaching hospital has a Littmann... there's a reason they're so popular. While you may be some sort of self-proclaimed stethoscope guru (that's certainly your reputation at least), it doesn't give you the license to trash models that have worked extremely well for others. Also, the fact that people's body surfaces are irregular doesn't preclude a practitioner from applying firm, even pressure when auscultating... a bit of dexterity should allow one to adjust the plane of pressure as necessary and adapt to the idiosyncrasies of his diagnostic instrument.
     
  22. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic
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    KentW is right. I've tested a few stethoscopes including the popular Littman Cardio III. My personal favorite is the Welch Allyn Harvey Elite. It costs about $130 and has a great sound. The device can be heavy, but the ear pieces are comfortable and individually adjustable.
     
  23. Blue Dog

    Blue Dog Fides et ratio.
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    Not at all.

    I hope you're not suggesting that I'm not entitled to have an opinion? :rolleyes:

    I'll let our respective posts speak for themselves. Thanks for sharing your view.
     
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  24. anon-y-mouse

    anon-y-mouse Senior Member

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    No, I'm certainly not suggesting that, but it doesn't come across to me as merely your opinions, but more as "this is the gospel truth"... which I guess is fine, but seems misleading to me, but I do respect your right to have an opinion. Are you being paid by Welch-Allyn or something? :laugh: Well, if there's suddenly a recall or something on Littmanns, I'll eat my words... and stethoscope :)
     
  25. Blue Dog

    Blue Dog Fides et ratio.
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    What have I said that's misleading? :confused:

    Right at the beginning of this post, I said, "OK, here's my opinion regarding stethoscopes."

    It doesn't get much clearer than that.
     
  26. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic
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    1. Kent promotes the Littmann Cardio II. Therefore, I do not think that he is getting paid off by Welch-Allyn.

    2. Littmann is a lot like TI calculators. It gets impressionable students hooked on its products early so that it can suck them in for life, even though there are better models on the market.

    3. Feel free to argue which is better, but have you ever tested your Littmann against a Welch-Allyn? I have and definitely noticed a difference between the Cardio III and the Harvey Elite.

    4. Med students don't need these fancy expensive stethoscopes any way. The only reason I even have one is because my school forces students to buy a cardiology grade scope.
     
  27. popbirch

    popbirch Member

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    I was given 2 stethoscopes by a doctor, one for my EMT, and the next for getting into med school. The first was a littmann II SE (sport edition??) and then a littmann III. And I have no real input on whether or not they do a better job than any other scope, but the doctor that gave them to me said this is what a lot of doctors use on the job, because they are good quality. I know I can take a blood pressure and hear breath sounds good enough so they work for what I do with them.
    Thats my two cents
     
  28. robh

    robh Senior Member

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    The Harvey Elite comes with a flat diaphram and a "corrugated" diaphram. What is the difference between the two and what are each used for?
     
  29. Blue Dog

    Blue Dog Fides et ratio.
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    According to Welch-Allyn, the corrugated diaphragm is useful for detecting mid-range sounds, as it attenuates higher-pitched sounds more than a conventional diaphragm (ref: http://www2.umdnj.edu/~shindler/choirefs.htm ).

    In practice, it's usually used to "survey" the precordium before "tuning in" to specific sounds using either the flat diaphragm or bell, as with the Harvey Triple-Head. If you use the corrugated diaphragm on a regular two-headed stethoscope like the Harvey Elite, you'll lose a little bit of resolution in the higher frequency range. I've tried them both, and prefer the flat diaphragm.
     
  30. BAM!

    BAM! Senior Member

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    It's not what you've said that's misleading. It's that Anonymouse thinks you portray yourself as a stethoscope authority, when all we really know about you is that your an SDN moderator with a few thousand posts.

    However, I disagree with him and read it differently. Thank you for the post. I know I'll keep this post in mind when I test out the Littmans.

    thx
     
  31. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    First, who cares if Kent likes a different stethoscope-- he's allowed to have his opinion. It might not be the right one, but it's his. If he's used a stethoscope on a patient before that makes his opinion worth as much as anyones. Moreso if he actually conned the W-A people to pay him for his opinion. :D
    Second, TI makes a really nice financial calculator. Folks in the business world flock to them even if they didn't use them at school.
    Thirdly, I agree, the Littman is certainly the most widely used, regardless of whether it is any good. Sort of like everyone buying IBM's over MacIntoshes -- doesn't mean the market share losing brand is necessarilly the worse brand. But since people will inevitably be borrowing scopes to hear things now and then, particularly in the teaching/training setting, there is perhaps some benefit to being used to the same one everyone else has.
     
  32. Blue Dog

    Blue Dog Fides et ratio.
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    I've never claimed "authority" status on anything. If an educated opinion is a crime, lock me up and throw away the key. ;)
     
  33. BAM!

    BAM! Senior Member

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    First of all, take a chill pill. No need to get defensive.

    You portrayed yourself as an authority by saying, "I've posted extensively about this in other threads." You don't have to come out and directly say, "I claim authority on this subject" to paint a certain image of yourself.

    But it's good that you prefaced your post this way. Otherwise, I probably would have dismissed your post and not looked into buying other stethoscopes. I'm glad you have an educated opinion.

    btw, let's hope this doesn't lead to a semantic battle. We're not lawyers. I'm just defending anonymouse because I see the way that he/she read it. Sometimes it's hard to see yourself from someone else's eyes.
     
  34. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Um, some of us are...
     
  35. BAM!

    BAM! Senior Member

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    Damn lawyers! that's the second time you've corrected me on some nit picky detail in the past week! ;)
     
  36. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Everybody needs a nemesis. :laugh:
     
  37. Blue Dog

    Blue Dog Fides et ratio.
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    Don't worry. Just because some of you are being offensive doesn't automatically make me defensive.

    Um...no, I said that so I could link to my original reply rather than pasting it into another thread.

    As for this thread, I'm taking the Fifth (Law2Doc will understand what that means.) ;)
     
  38. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic
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    KentW is an attending in family medicine, if that gives him any creditability in your eyes.
     
  39. cicatrix

    cicatrix gonna leave a mark

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    This was particularly amusing coming from someone with the username of BAM!
     
  40. BAM!

    BAM! Senior Member

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    If you were seriously offended by my telling you to chill out, then I apologize. I'm sorry.

    However, if you weren't, then I think you have some serious issues with having to be right. You're missing the main point. I'm not attacking you. I'm only saying that sometimes people interpret your actions/words differently than the way you intended. For example, you said you posted extensively on the subject so you could link to it. However, by saying you've posted "extensively", it implies you're either an expert on the subject or merely a loudmouth, and I don't think you were trying to say you're a loudmouth.

    Cmon, I shouldn't have to explain this to you.
     
  41. Zoom-Zoom

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    No, it means he has posted extensively. Your the one doing the implications...
     
  42. 8744

    8744 Guest

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    Damn you, KentW, and your extensive stethoscope knowledge.

    We don't need your kind around here with your carefully thought out posts and your well-reasoned arguments. Why don't you get with the program and offer opinions on subjects of which you have no knowledge?
     
  43. Margaritaville

    Margaritaville Wastin' away again...

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    From the looks of things, that would be you.

    Of course, we wouldn't want to start an argument about semantics, now, would we? :rolleyes:
     
  44. chameleonknight

    chameleonknight Friggin go away, freaks.

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    This proves once and for all that medical students are insane.

    Its a piece of metal and some tubing, not a deeply held belief system that your family will ostracize you for abandoning.

    And yes, I'm an authority on medical students and insanity, having belonged to both groups. :p
     
  45. robh

    robh Senior Member

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    Thanks! I listened with both diaphrams extensively yesterday and it is exactly as you say. The corrugated diaphram was a little louder but definitely more bassy (or muddy if you like). My hearing isn't so great, so my initial preference was for the corrugated diaphram, but when I listened carefully I could hear a lot more stuff with the flat diaphram.
     
  46. alesdu1

    alesdu1 Junior Member

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    im premed my moms an MD and so she gets a lot of stethoscopes, several which are passed down to me (im an emt) I think the master classic II by littman is worth its weight in gold. although i havent tried used the littman cardiologies for any long period of time (i have used ADC cardiologies and they havent been nearly as good as my master classic), id recommend you try out the master classic. its a little cheaper, extremely durable and excellant acoustics. i can get great BPs and breath sounds driving down a potholed road with the sirens on.
     
  47. OSUdoc08

    OSUdoc08 Banned
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    Get a stethoscope with a bell & diaphragm. Pick one that is the most comfortable to use.

    Other than that, it doesn't matter.
     
  48. OSUdoc08

    OSUdoc08 Banned
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    The master classic is good for paramedics, but not for medical students. You'll need a full bell.

    Once you've mastered auscultation, then you can progress to a combined system, like the master cardiology.
     
  49. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    To continue the semantics -- gold is about $635 per ounce. The Littman MC II is at least a couple of ounces. No one should drop that much on a stethoscope no matter how good it is. :laugh:
     
  50. Llenroc

    Llenroc Bandidos Motorcycle Club

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    Littman Master Classic 2 rocks. Don't have to worry about switching Bell/Diaphragm, just vary the pressure. :thumbup:

    Basically what you want is a middle of the range stethoscope. Not a cheap nurse's one. But at the same time, anyone who tells you to get the most expensive stethoscope so that "it lasts you all the way through residency and practice" is lying to you because you'll probably lose or break it at some point.
     
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  51. Llenroc

    Llenroc Bandidos Motorcycle Club

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    Seperate bell and diaphragm went out of style with the powdered wig, buddy. Welcome to the 21st century. :smuggrin:
     
  52. OSUdoc08

    OSUdoc08 Banned
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    Perhaps you can "master" auscultation quickly, but more most medical students, a seperate bell and diaphragm is needed for learning. You can advance to the combined bell/diaphragm once you've progressed. I wouldn't recommend a beginning medical student to start with a master cardiology.
     

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