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stethoscopes... please help me choose

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by aye, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. aye

    aye Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    baltimore
    hey guys. i tried looking for reviews on stethoscopes on google but i couldn't find anything one them. i usually like to research things before i invest in expensive equipment but i can't find any info on them.

    are there any websites you know that review steth's?? what brand is considered the best.... littman???

    i found a website that sells them mad cheap (allheart.com) and there's only a $15 different between the cardiology III and the best one (master cardiology). so i'm thinking that i might as well buy the latter... but i'm afraid that it'll come off pretentious with me being a lowly 2nd year med student.

    are there any other good brands?? i saw DRG which looks pretty nice... they're eargel tips sound really nice. how about Welch Allyn?

    thanks!
     
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  3. Dr JPH

    Dr JPH Banned Banned 10+ Year Member

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    Littman III

    The Master Cardiology is nice but takes some practice when using it. You can hear different types of sounds based on how hard you press the bell to the skin. On the Littman III you can simply flip the head around.

    I suggest getting your name on it as well. They tend to walk.
     
  4. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

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    Just make sure that you do flip the head around if you want to listen with the other side. :D

    Also, the eartips point in the direction of your ear canals (anteriorly). You'll thank me for that.

    There are a bunch of threads on this topic, here is one that comes to mind:

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=253778

    The Littmann III is the most popular for medical and nursing students. Not only does it serve its purpose well, but all of the ladies will want to get with you if you have one.
     
  5. aye

    aye Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    actually, my gf has the littman III and i've used it as well. i read on the 3M website that both sides serve as the bell and diaphragm... it just depends on how hard you press it. the smaller side isn't really the bell, its meant for pediatric use. :thumbup:

    by getting the master cardiology... am i limiting myself to adult patients???
     
  6. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

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    If you get the master cardiology as an M1, I think that it would paint you in a negative light.

    Quick Q...

    Let's say that you are being tested and the examiner asks you to demonstrate auscultation of a carotid bruit. How do you do it with a master steth?
     
  7. aye

    aye Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    well, you need to use the bell for bruits... so press lightly on the patient's neck. but the problem might be that the examiner doesn't know that the steth you have can serve both as a bell and a diaphragm... and you might get points docked off for not switching sides... :thumbdown:
     
  8. lord_jeebus

    lord_jeebus 和魂洋才 Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Try before you buy

    If you're not in med school yet, wait until you are. You might get a better price through a Littman or Welch Allyn rep.

    Or you can resist peer pressure and buy a DRG stethoscope.
     
  9. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

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    Indeed I had that happen as a nursing student. That's why I go with the standard Littmann II Classic S.E. It gives you plenty of quality for med school purposes. Of course I'd get more honies if I went with the Cardiology III.

    The lowest prices I've seen are here:

    http://www.steeles.com/

    :luck:
     
  10. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick! 7+ Year Member

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    Had a Cooch
    Think about what specialty you (think you) are pursuing. I'm going into anesthesia, and i couldn't be happier with my Littmann Master Classic II. Slim, easy to slide up the back of a patient's shirt for a quick listen to lung fields, etc., will be fine for using under the drapes. Easily fits into my scrubs. Got it for like $75 on eBay.

    Don't think you have to buy the best possible scope you can afford, unless you are really gunning for Cards. There are countless threads on this, do a search. Long story short, your ability to hear the murmur is more reliant on your own perceptions than the tubing and hunk of metal.

    Let the arguing commence...
     
  11. Dr JPH

    Dr JPH Banned Banned 10+ Year Member

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    True

    But you can also remove the plastic diaphragm and help out with certain sounds.

    Also, the small side on the III fits well for carotids.
     
  12. Random

    Random 7+ Year Member

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    If you can, find somewhere which will let you try out several scopes and see which one you can hear the best with (and find most comfortable). There are a number of threads about this so my advice is to do a search if you're really serious about hearing what people hear think, though usually someone will say they prefer the Cardiology III and that'll be followed by 10 posts agreeing. Find out for yourself and don't be too tied to brand name.
     
  13. DragonWell

    DragonWell Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I got it as a gift. Am I screwed? Will I forever be labeled as that "kid with the expensive stethoscope who has absolutely no idea how to use it"?
     
  14. MaximusD

    MaximusD Anatomically Incorrect Physician 10+ Year Member

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    JP:

    Is it true that PCOM gifts new steths to students? If so, when and which type?

    Maximoose
     
  15. MaximusD

    MaximusD Anatomically Incorrect Physician 10+ Year Member

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    :laugh: hope so that would be hilarious considering it's not even your fault. kidding, of course! :smuggrin:
     
  16. group_theory

    group_theory EX-TER-MIN-ATE!' Administrator Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    The Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association (POMA) will give each new DO student (at PCOM and LECOM) a Littman Cardiology 3 Scope (however, you may not get the color you want but it's a free gift) ... given sometime during 1st trimester of 1st year

    *they also supply you with the short white coats so that's why you see POMA on the sleeve
     
  17. pillowhead

    pillowhead Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I have the Welch Allyn Harvery stethescope and have been very happy with it. It's cheaper than Littmans and I think it's works just as well if not better. I just had a resident in the ED the other day borrow mine because he left his at home and he returned it to me saying he could hear more with it than he usually does with his. I don't like having the bell/diaphragm on the same side because i feel like i'm never sure how hard i'm pressing to be sure I'm listening with what I want. Oh, and my welch allyn came with a pediatric diaphragm as well making look like a superstar on my peds rotation :cool:
     
  18. psipsina

    psipsina Senior Member 5+ Year Member

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    I have this one too and I really like it. I just listened with all the steths that the sales reps that came to my school had and bought the one that I could hear the most with and that was most comfortable in my ears. I suggest the op does the same, cause in the end thats all that really matters.
     
  19. Arsenic

    Arsenic posting from the future Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    the smaller side of the littman cardio III can be either a pediatric diaphragm OR a bell. you can remove the pedi diaphragm and replace it with the little rubber o-ring that comes in the box... voila, you now have a genuine bell. thats the way i keep mine most of the time, im actually on pediatric surgery now so i just converted the bell back into a pedi diaphragm. its just easier when dealing with the ultra small babies, ie with the adult diaphragm on the chest of a newborn you'd hear heart sounds, breath sounds and bowel sounds all at once since its so big.
     
  20. Dooooom

    Dooooom Member 5+ Year Member

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    I feel your pain... I got a master cardio as a gift also, with my name and everything. I think I am gonna get the cardio III also for 2 reasons:

    1. I don't want everything to think im incredibly pretentious.... though Im not a big fan of caring what everyone thinks, I dont want people not liking me because of false impressions (students along with doctors and faculty).

    2. What someone mentioned earlier, not flipping to the bell may cause a deduction in points and ultimately is the main reason I'll keep the master of cardio for special occasions. =(

    what do you guys think?
     
  21. diosa428

    diosa428 SDN Angel 5+ Year Member

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    Meh, if you already have one, there's no point in spending another couple of hundred dollars for a different one. You will probably be taught to do physical exams and use your stethescope in years 1 and 2, long before rotations, so you can see how people react then, but I highly doubt it's going to be a problem. If anyone says anything just say that you got it as a gift.
     
  22. Biscuit799

    Biscuit799 7+ Year Member

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    buy a really cheap one, and then buy a really good one when you start 3rd year.
     
  23. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

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    Yes. :D

    My school gave us freebie II S.E.'s. I sold mine to a nursing student.
     
  24. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642 10+ Year Member

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    Who cares what people think... I got it, not because I think I'm some sort of big shot or anything. I was working as an ekg tech and all the cardiologists were using this so I figured it must be a pretty good scope. I wanted to buy the best one I could so that I had the best chance of actually being able to hear something during my medical education so I went with the Master Cardiology. To hell with the Master Cardiology III, even though it's a good scope too.
     
  25. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642 10+ Year Member

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    Who cares what people think... I got it, not because I think I'm some sort of big shot or anything. I was working as an ekg tech and all the cardiologists were using this so I figured it must be a pretty good scope. I wanted to buy the best one I could so that I had the best chance of actually being able to hear something during my medical education so I went with the Master Cardiology. To hell with the Master Cardiology III, even though it's a good scope too. By the way, where's KentW? He always chimes in about how much he hates Littman's about this time and he is always able to sniff out stethoscope threads.
     
  26. Blue Dog

    Blue Dog Fides et ratio. Physician Gold Donor SDN Advisor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Nah...just avoid anything with gold plating. ;)
     
  27. nickster

    nickster 2+ Year Member

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    I guess I'm going against the grain - I just bought a Welch Allyn Elite on Ebay. It's used but look like new to me and I only paid 60 bucks.
     
  28. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

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    I hear this from nursing students too. The usual response you'll get here is that it still doesn't matter for what you're listening for as a medical student. The risk vs. reward is certainly greater with the more expensive model because these things have a tendency to grow legs.

    KentW--no gold plating? Here I ordered a gold one with zebra-print tubing and a logo across the neck that says "pimpin' ain't easy." Man do I feel like an idiot now. I thought that it would supplement my grill for OB/Gyn rotations. You already know those ladies put out...
     
  29. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick! 7+ Year Member

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    Had a Cooch
    Better watch out...you might OG!
     
  30. Hurricane95

    Hurricane95 Senior Member 5+ Year Member

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    I got welch allyn harvey elite DX. The thing sounds awesome, at least to my untrained MS1 ears. The littman sounds to me like it has a lot of amplified background noise, whereas this one sounds clear as heck. It's very easy to tell different sounds apart with it.

    Could it be because it's the only one that has a bell made of brass (as opposed to stainless steel)? After all, brass is the metal of choice for musical instruments, because it transmits sound at the best quality. hmmmm ... maybe welch allyn is on to something?
     
  31. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642 10+ Year Member

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    Wow, I'm strangely turned on...
     
  32. MaximusD

    MaximusD Anatomically Incorrect Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Eww replace the ear buds
     
  33. MaximusD

    MaximusD Anatomically Incorrect Physician 10+ Year Member

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    How do you put your name on the free ones they gift you at PCOM?
     
  34. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

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    You can have it engraved for a few bucks at local bookstore or trophy shop.
     
  35. Dakota

    Dakota Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Many brass instruments on the high end are made from silver. I have yet to see any solid silver steths tho. Suppose they would require too much polishing.

    Dr. Kelso has a gold plated steth.
     
  36. emtp6811

    emtp6811 iLurk 5+ Year Member

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    Over there
    MDApps:
    I originally bought a Master Cardiology steth and loved it. It made everything sound like a freight train. And although I had my name etched on the bell and a tag on the tubing, it was kiped within a month. So then I settled with the cheapo $12 steth. Occassionally I would have to ask someone in the room to shush but I could still hear whatever I needed to hear, granted I am not in cardiology. And if I need to do a nasal intubation on the fly, I dont cry over tearing it apart and having to get a new one.

    My advice, stick with cheap or free until you decide what you are going into, and therefore know how much you need out of the stethoscope. Also keep in mind that a lot of places have live-in steths. Just lube it up with an alcohol swabbie and go to town!
     
  37. megadon

    megadon 5+ Year Member

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    If you are feeling totally insecure about having a cargioligist stethiscope, your medical school can prbobably convert it to a III for a small fee.
     
  38. aye

    aye Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    hey guys. after reading that post by KentW on top quality stethoscopes... i've decided to go to the john's hopkins bookstore (i live in bmore) to try them out in a couple of weeks. i was browsing thru their website and saw the welch allyn elite and DLX. there's another one called: Welch Allyn Original Harvey Double Head Stethoscope. it seems very similar to the dlx but cheaper does anyone have any input on that particular model??? here's the link:

    http://webmedbooks.com/hopkins/content/productsearch.aspx/sid=9ae4a475-4000-41ec-936c-12a5164addea/

    thanks!
     
  39. kylek044

    kylek044 2+ Year Member

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    I work in a trophy store - when you go in to get a steth engraved, DONT ASK. It is one of those thigns that are a little more difficult... just tell them "i need this engraved here (point) thanks and have a nice day" It would also help if you advise them to laser-engrave or hand engrave it, rather then using a rotary machine.

    Rumor has it, you can actually get the binural tubing laser engraved on the littmanns, but I havent felt like running my new littmann through the machine.
     
  40. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

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    On to the next logical topic...

    Don't use stethoscope covers. They harbor MRSA. :thumbdown:
     
  41. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick! 7+ Year Member

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    ...not to mention making you look like a nurse...

    "Do I want the dolphins or the dalmations today?"
     
  42. kylek044

    kylek044 2+ Year Member

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    I'll give you the advice that was given to me:
    "Remember, the more expensive your stethoscope is, the bigger your penis is"

    Unfortunately, I've met far too many people who seem to think that its accurate
     
  43. 8o8o8o8

    8o8o8o8 2+ Year Member

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    doubt it really matters, but our whole class got the littman cardiology III

    i like it, but haven't used anything else for comparison
     
  44. Mayhem

    Mayhem Scut Bear 5+ Year Member

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    Um dumb question: why does a stethoscope need a cover anyway? I've asked so many people this and all I get is a couple of grunts then some version of "It's so plain and I want to express my individuality" all while they tug at their hospital supplied muy blah scrubs.
     
  45. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse Administrator Physician SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    And you're not supposed to wear your stethoscope around your neck (if you plan on keeping your stethoscope to use through residency). The oils in your neck ruin the tubing, which will become stiff until it cracks. My sister's stethoscope gave out halfway through residency.
     
  46. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

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    Why do people spend $30 on printed scrub tops? I imagine that it's for the same reason. Can't say that I have an answer.
     
  47. Mayhem

    Mayhem Scut Bear 5+ Year Member

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    My personal research indicates that the odds are 10 to 1 it involves an Axis 2 disorder. And by research I mean pointing and laughing with my friends.
     
  48. kylek044

    kylek044 2+ Year Member

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    Most companies sell replacement tubing.
     
  49. 87138

    87138 Guest

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    Bump to this. I'm actually very curious too.

    (BTW, the link you gave doesn't seem to work for me, but here are the two separate links):

    Harvey Double Head:
    http://webmedbooks.com/hopkins/content/productdetail.aspx/upc=cae4e3d3-c3fb-4dd1-88db-76d6152e7b1a/id=0//sid=cb53a0b3-8f2e-4b80-bfdf-a96e25f0d851/

    Harvey DLX Double Head:
    http://webmedbooks.com/hopkins/content/productdetail.aspx/upc=72b2a24d-b94a-43ca-b108-d7b642df0c90/id=0//sid=cb53a0b3-8f2e-4b80-bfdf-a96e25f0d851/



    What's the difference? (besides the price)
     
  50. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

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    Looks like there is a triple head too:

    http://www.steeles.com/catalog/harvey_DblTrpl.html

    I'd be interested in knowing any differences too...
     
  51. aye

    aye Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    just to add to the confusion...

    has anyone tried the MDF 797 classic cardiology?? i can get a great discount on them... how are they compared to the Welch Allyn stethoscopes?
     

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