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Stethoscope Comparison

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by BUmmedic, Apr 22, 2004.

  1. BUmmedic

    BUmmedic Member
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    All right, for both my own good and that of the many people who ask me for my opinion... what kind of stethoscope do people use and what do they like/not like about it? Would they buy the same one again, same brand again, or would they completely change their instrument choice.

    The major brands/models that I get asked about are:
    1. Littmann Master Cardio
    2. Littmann Cardio III
    3. Welch Allyn Tycos Harvey Elite
    4. Welch Allyn Tycos Harvey DLX (both dual and triple head models)
    5. ADC Adscope models (600, 601, 602, 603)

    I own both a Master Cardio and a Cardio III. The Cardio III was my purchase and the Master was a gift from a long-time friend who was retiring from the medical field. Personally, I find the dual chestpiece and the tunable diaphragms on both sides give that Cardio III an excellent range of usefulness. I also find that the sounds are loudable and more clear on my Cardio III when compared to my Master Cardio.

    What are your opinions? Thanks.

    - Fred
     
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  3. Vincristine

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    Fred, I have to completely agree. I purchased a Littmann Classic II during M1 for a shadowing program. I didn't know any better, and thought better stethoscopes were for cardiologists. Ironically, I think the opposite is true -- a cardiologist could listen with a papertowel tube (the original stethoscope); but *I* need a good stethoscope. When the time rolled around to purchase our doctor tools in M2, we had all sorts of people come allow us to try their instruments. I tried the Littman Cardio III and could actually hear heart tones and breath sounds, so I had to shell out the extra money. I'm quite happy with it, and the couple of times residents or attendings ask to borrow it there's usually some comment made about how clear it is. I've borrowed a friends Welch Allen a couple times and absolutely did not like it. I can't pinpoint what it was, however.

    In short, I'd certainly buy my Littmann Cardio III again and recommend it to all. Warning: it is actually heavier than other stethoscopes and contributes to my neck strain, but on particularly bad days, I simply carry it instead of leave it around my neck.
     
  4. Gauss

    Gauss Damnit Jim!
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    I used to have an old littman light and felt embarrased with everyone else around me having littman cardios. So I bought a cardio thinking it would be sooooo much better.
    haha, totally wrong. I could get the same auscultative quality out of my light just by spending a bit more time maneuvering it. Plus the damn thing is ridiculously heavier. My advice is that with practice your ears will adjust and you'll figure out what you're hearing no matter waht you have.
    Package deals are generally cheaper too
     
  5. carrigallen

    carrigallen 16th centry dutch painter
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    It really doesn't matter. I recommend buying the Littman III, since it is ridiculously loud, and therefore good for ambulance rides or noisy areas like the ER.

    If you don't feel like forking over the cash for a Littman III (~$120) then you can buy a Littman II (Classic) for $60-70.
     
  6. BassDominator

    BassDominator Senior Member
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    I own both a Cardiology III and a Cardiology II SE. The accoustics are virtually identical to me, but I get more use out of the II, because it's lighter and fits better in my pocket. I started out with the III (because that's what everyone else had), but if I had it do over again, I wish I had bought just the II.... it costs about half the price, too.
     
  7. sdude

    sdude Member
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    I've heard some good things about the DRG cardiology stethoscopes. Has anyone used one of these?

    Thanks!
     
  8. beanbean

    beanbean 1K Member
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    I just recently tried a DRG scope because I had heard good things about them. I found the tubing to be very stiff and difficult to manuever. The acoustics were not very good for me, but I have a difficult time finding a scope that sits in my ears properly and doesn't plug them up.
     
  9. priapismatic

    priapismatic Senior Member
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    I got a discount on the cardio III through their website - lied, said I was a med student (medic). It's great esp. if you're on the move; I didn't like the way the tubes of the 'cheapies' banged together while on the ambulance.
     
  10. flighterdoc

    flighterdoc Rocket Scientist
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    I got a Master-II, and it sucks - I can hear better with a plastic nuses scope. Unfortunately I bought it on Ebay, I should have shopped on-hand.
     
  11. sdude

    sdude Member
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    Anyone ever use a Hewlett Packard or Phillips Sprague-Rappaport? I think those are the gnarliest looking 'scopes. I don't know if the design is acoustically obsolete, though.

    It's funny that a "real" Rappaport is one of the most expensive stethoscopes, yet everyone and their dog makes copies for $15. Strange.
     
  12. Bucky Katt

    Bucky Katt Junior Member
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  13. oudoc08

    oudoc08 Please pass the gas...
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    As a paramedic, my fav scope has been the Cardio III, since it is most versatile w/ dual heads, & excellent accoustics.

    If I was guaranteed never to see a pedi or a frail emaciated patient with arms only as large as a 4 year olds, then I would like to have the Master Cardiology, however it doesn't seem to be nearly as universal for all patients such as you would see in ER, EMS, Fam. Medicine, etc.
     
  14. 12R34Y

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    Master cardiology is the BEST. IMHO. Most of the students in my class have either the master or the Cardiology III.

    I'm a medic and plan on EM and i've never had ANY trouble listening to peds, infants etc....it also has a quick snap on piece for kids if you want.

    never needed it. loudest of them all in my opinion.

    switched from a cardio III 2 years ago.


    later
     
  15. J-dog

    J-dog Guinness Taster

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    I'm a fan of the cardiology III. I have had mine for several years. It is reasonably priced, provides an adequate quality of ausculatation for a medical student's untrained ears, and allows you to have a diaphragm, bell, and pediatric diaphragm all in one. Many of my friends have it as well.
     
  16. ericdamiansean

    ericdamiansean High Profiler
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    think i'm the first here who's posting on the ADC..i own one..it's the cardio model based after the littmann's cardio..pretty good for me..
    but I heard a littmann's cardio...really really nice sound..planning to get it..once i'm out of debt :oops:

    heard that welsh alynn's are quite uncomfortable ie. the ones used in 'scrubs'?
     
  17. madtowngirl

    madtowngirl Senior Member
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    Okay, I have a cardio III, and I love the loudness, but i sometimes have trouble because moving my hand even slightly produces a background noise of sorts, which is distracting. Does anyone have any advice to get rid of the noise?
     
  18. Docgeorge

    Docgeorge Bent Over and Violated
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    I have to give a shout out to my Wellch Allyn Harvy DLX. (for the love of god dont by the three headed one unless you want to stick out like a sypilectic pecker at a short arm inspection)

    Pros: sound great, can put diffent diaprhams on to help you compensate for
    your weaknesses. ie if your deaf you can put on the funky looking
    diaphram and it will amplify the sounds at the cost of a little quality.

    There are'nt a lot of them around so you can find and subsaquently
    beat the crap out the person who takes it.

    Cons: The tubeing is really short. An extra inch or three would have been
    great.

    the chest peice feels kind of wierd at first.


    PS my gf has a Master Cardio. I love the length, and the ergodymanic chest peice. I just cant hear out of it as well as my Harvy.
     
  19. tim1680

    tim1680 Tim

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    There's something to be said for the aesthetics of the Cardio III. It just looks nice. I love it. It's the only stethoscope I've ever owned and probably the only stethoscope I ever will own. And you can stick that little diaphragm over the bell so it's all set for peds rotation too.
     
  20. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    Does anyone have an electronic stethoscope? If so, can you recommend a good brand? How is the Littman electronic scope?

    Before anyone tells me I do not need an electronic stethoscope and it's a waste of money, I have a slight hearing deficit thanks to many years of sirens and loud music.
     
  21. ericdamiansean

    ericdamiansean High Profiler
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    You know..reading this post doesn't make me feel like I'm some kinda weirdo in my med school...because I'm not exagerating but I seriously think that I'm the only one who has a cardio (ADC) in my med school or within the other med schools in my country(student population that is)..and I just know of another girl who has the littmann's cardio (and that's because I was the one who asked her to get it)

    You see in my med school, or other med schools back in my country, people conform to certain standards, and medical students here don't get anything other than the littmann's classic 2 SE, although mine is priced almost the same..just a bit more expensive,tat's all.

    When I got mine and showed it to my pals and teachers, they didn't really like it, because I was having something out of the norm. I can't use it for exams, because we're expected to show how to use the bell and diaphragm even for a general CVS auscultation exam. And if the case is a MS, then bell at the apex all the way for distinction, and by using a one sided pressure sensitive cardio, we wouldn't be able to show if we're using the bell or diaphragm :smuggrin:

    And seniors always tell us that students who use weird stuff get picked by the docs when we go for rounds. And so far...I've never seen a doc with an electronic stet...was wondering what would happen if i did get an electronic..probably would be seen as an outcast, rich kid show off..cos even the big boys don't use it
     
  22. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    In my case, I need an electronic stethoscope to overcome a slight hearing deficit that seems to be getting worse.
     
  23. flighterdoc

    flighterdoc Rocket Scientist
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    Too much time in an ambulance?

    Which e-scope did you get?
     
  24. Vincristine

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    Southerndoc, there was recently a thread about electronic stethoscopes. I stopped reading it, but I think it was in the clinical rotations forum -- check there. We have a pediatrician here who has bilateral hearing aids and from the way he speaks, I believe his hearing loss must have been very early in life. And I think it's significant enough that he compensates greatly by lip reading. He has a electronic stethoscope -- I've never asked him about it, but obviously it works for him.
     
  25. sdude

    sdude Member
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    Ha. Ha. Yeah, I'd love to show up for the first day of clinical class with the three-headed Harvey--has anyone every known someone who used it? It might be the greatest steth ever, but I'd keep expecting the doctor to say something like: "We are Borg; resistance is futile" every time he "click" rotated to the next head!

    Glad to hear someone likes the Harvey--I like the looks of it and hopefully will have a chance to try one out.
     
  26. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    Haven't bought one yet. That's why I was asking for opinions. Part of my hearing deficit is from loud music. However, we also used 200-watt Whelen sirens that are very, very loud.
     
  27. doctor7

    doctor7 Member
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    Master Cardiology All Black edition

    vanity, vanity, vanity

    my hearing is shot, so i'll probably end up ordering an echo anyways. don't get a electronic unless you wanna look like a dork on the wards. but maybe you're above all that image stuff.
     
  28. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    Thanks for poking fun of my hearing deficit and suggesting that I'll look like a dork on the wards with my electronic stethoscope.
     
  29. BUmmedic

    BUmmedic Member
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    People are calling each other dorks and making Star Trek jokes... this post has officially gone down the crapper...

    Just kiddin'... thanks for all of your opinions, keep 'em coming. I recently worked with a fellow MS who owned the Philips electronic, and my Family Medicine preceptor used the same model. I've tried it, used it for a week in Family until my regular stethoscope was found (damn things grow legs and run off in someone else's pocket). It was nice, amplified sounds really well, but took some getting used to, and depending on the person, I've heard the learning curve can be quite steep to get the point where you are comfortable with the sounds you are hearing. Keep in mind that they are digitized and amplified and the binaurals and earpieces are nothing more than a very expensive set of headphones. The sounds are DIFFERENT from what you hear through a traditional stethoscope... digitizing changes the character of the sounds, and this if often the reason for the steep learning curve.

    IMOE, sounds are louder and clearer, and although it does filter out the background noise, it takes a second or so of steady, non-changing pressure before the filter kicks in and silences out the noise. So, for example, place it on the chest, and after a second or so, the background noise will almost disappear. But you have to wait with every reposition. Also, CANNOT listen through clothes with this thing... muffles everything right out (kind of sucks for routine office visit situations where you want to do a quick listen or take a blood pressure through a shirt... don't smirk, you know we all do it when someone in a position to yell isn't looking). However, I have found that lung sounds do not come through well at all. These were really designed to listen for cardiac sounds. Also, little bit of water and you're screwed. The earpieces are high impact plastic, but stretch them a little too far or sit on your coat wrong with it in the pocket and you've got a $150-$200 piece of broken plastic. (Remember, this is regarding the Philips Electronic Stethoscope).

    I know physicians who use the other electronic models (specifically the Littmann's), but I haven't heard any opinions about them. However, I know plenty of docs that are hard-of-hearing or somewhat deaf and these seem to compensate quite well for their deficits.

    So SouthernDoc, having been an EMT for 6 years and knowing full well what a good set of Whelen's sound like (even after they've been turned off for an hour), I would seriously consider a e-scope if you're having difficulty with a regular. Overall, they seem to do what they were designed to do quite well :)

    - Fred
     
  30. rchrest1

    rchrest1 Senior Member
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    The best of the best.
     
  31. flighterdoc

    flighterdoc Rocket Scientist
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    yeah, hope the speakers were in the grill and not on the roof. BTW, that would be a disability claim if they were.
     
  32. Harps

    Harps Jatt Denominator
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    It's awesome :thumbup: Clarity :thumbup:

    -Harps
     
  33. kaos

    kaos Web Crawler
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    A stethoscope is a stethoscope.

    I got mine free, when I was volunteering in the hospital a few yrs ago. I found it, turned it in to the staff, who were like, "We get them all the time from the hospital. U can have it."

    Started using it this yr, and it works just fine up against all those Littmans! :D
     
  34. BUmmedic

    BUmmedic Member
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    I stared this post to get personal opinions regarding what stethoscope people are using and what they think about them and what they've heard from other people. In truth, I must say that I agree with Kaos... a stethoscope is a stethoscope. I've seen doctors use everything from the simple nursing scope that you can get for under $20 all the way up to the fancy electronic Littmann's for over $400.

    When I was an EMT, I used to use the double-tubed sprague scope with the stiff clear plastic diaphragms, and to be honest, if my Littmann got up and walked away or was rendered un-usable, I would not hesitate at all to whip out my old friend. It's all a matter of what you've used and what you're used to. All stethoscopes will sound different, and we all adjust to what we use in and out of the clinic/office/ambulance every day.

    My med school recommended either a Littmann (Master or Cardio III) or a Welch Allyn (Harvey DLX or Elite). That's probably because these were the companies that came for "Equipment Day" every year to show off their products and our school had contracts with them for discounts and bulk delivery.

    No matter what you use, you get used to it, and if you move to a different brand/model, it probably won't be as comfortable or clear as what you've been using. Thanks again for all of your opinions.

    - Fred
     
  35. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    I'm not allowed to discuss anything about it right now. :)
     

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