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What type/brand of stethoscope to get?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by barcher, Mar 5, 2002.

  1. barcher

    barcher Member 7+ Year Member

    37
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    Nov 7, 2001
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    In a recent post, many of you recommended that at a minimum, an entering med-student should purchase a stethoscope. What brand, type(single/double head), length(25",26",27",etc.) are good to start off with? Thanks!
     
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  3. ckent

    ckent Banned Banned

    2,138
    1
    Jul 31, 2000
    Smallville/Metropolis
    littman cardiology III, it has a diaphragm and bell. buy the blue one, i have green, blue looks better though.
     
  4. FoxyDoc

    FoxyDoc Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    150
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    Nov 18, 2000
    USA
    I actually have the same question. Can anyone help us out?
     
  5. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats 10+ Year Member

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    Jul 9, 2001
    City
    we need to buy one?

    Nah....
     
  6. johnM

    johnM Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jan 8, 2002
    Bethesda, MD
    I think that our new schools will tell us what we need and when we need it.
     
  7. windsurfr

    windsurfr Member 7+ Year Member

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    Feb 9, 2002
    Minneapolis, MN
    I was wondering too so I asked some docs around the hospital and they agree that it is important to have a good scope. Most have the Littman cardio 3.
     
  8. NuMD97

    NuMD97 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Feb 1, 2002
    New York
    Littman Cardio for myself has always been satisfactory. And mine is years old. The other brands are somewhat clumsy and one woman I used to know was constantly replacing the diaphragm, because she kept dropping it - it was a Rappaport. Also, buy a short length. It may appear clumsy, but gives the best sound results. But try them out, and see which brand works the best for you. And whatever you do, NEVER leave it anywhere! They are easily stolen and a stethoscope is an extension of your right hand [or left, if you're left-handed :) ], and one you'll need constantly when you start seeing patients. You really don't want to depend on anyone else's, it's just not practical. Good luck!

    Nu
     
  9. neutropeniaboy

    neutropeniaboy Blasted ENT Attending 10+ Year Member

    946
    175
    Feb 10, 2002
    USA
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by barcher:
    <strong>In a recent post, many of you recommended that at a minimum, an entering med-student should purchase a stethoscope. What brand, type(single/double head), length(25",26",27",etc.) are good to start off with? Thanks!</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I say spend as little on your stethescope as possible, but make sure it has a bell and a diaphragm. I have a Littman Cardiology II-SE, but I received it as a gift and would have otherwise bought something cheaper.

    I see quite a number of scopes dangling from internists' necks and surgeons' pockets, and I agree with most of them -- it doesn't matter what type you have. It's training your brain to pick up sounds. My friend has a scope costing 1/5th of what I own, and he picks up 3rd and 4th heart sounds better than I do with my expensive scope. (Of course, I'll accept room for the possibility that I just plain suck when it comes to the art of auscultation, but that's why I'm not an internist.)
     
  10. slptodoc

    slptodoc Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Oct 6, 2000
    Virginia
    Just FYI, you might want to check into the uniform catalogs for the best prices...
    I bought a Littman Cardiac III several years ago, (not because I use it for cardio stuff as a speech pathologist) but I do use it for respiratory monitoring and during swallowing evals, and I like the sensitivity and clarity of that instrument.
    Anyway, I paid a lot more for it than I've seen advertised in these catalogs...
    i.e. Uniform City has good prices
    I get most of my scrubs and lab coats through them too......
    Hope that helps...
    L :)
     
  11. dr.evil

    dr.evil Senior Member Physician 7+ Year Member

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    Oct 30, 2001
    I own the Littman Classic II S.E. and think it's perfect (especially since it only cost about $60). If I had money to blow, I would go for the Littman Cardiology III (~$140, ouch). Do not get one of the scopes that you have to apply different pressures to hear different frequencies. Just get one with a separate bell and diaphragm. You'll be glad you did.
     
  12. Peregrin

    Peregrin Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Oct 17, 2000
    MI
    Just my 2?.

    I have to disagree about the bell/diaphragm business. The tunable diaphragm is awesome for me. The only Littman you can buy that has a bell/diaphragm combo is the Littman Classic II. All of the Littman Cardiology scopes including the Master Cardio and Cardio III have the tunable diaphragm because it is a superior design. It's awsome to be able to listen to different frequencies without having to take the chestpiece off the patient, flip to the other side and then find the sound again. The Cardio III has a double head because it has a tunable diaphragm peds chestpiece and adult chestpiece on the same unit. I got the Master Cardio as a gift from a cardiologist I volunteered for and I think it is the best, but I didn't pay for it...

    Some people make the argument that you shouldn't spend money on an expensive scope becuase you don't know what you are listening for anyway. I think that it really works the other way round. Skilled listeners can pick up things with toilet paper tube, but the untrained ear can "hear" things perfectly and miss it altogether. Buy the best you can afford (and are prepared to lose, they walk away all the time). I'll be 160K in the hole by the time I graduate, so the extra $40-$60 isn't going to be that big a deal, you know? I skimp on used books, cheap gas, and crappy beer, but the equipment is important IMHO.

    As far as purchasing it. If your school is like mine, they'll parade a bunch of products and reps by you a month or so prior to your physical diagnosis class. You'll have tons of opportunities to buy stuff, unless you just want to practice at home in advance of course.
     
  13. rohitbest

    rohitbest Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 23, 2001
    ALABAMA
    i've asked health career individuals in a variety of fields including EMT, internal medicine, er docs, and the Littmann Cardiology III was the one I heard about the most. It has both the adult and pediatric side, and the pediatric side can be converted to the traditional bell. it has a nonchill rim ( which i think many of them do) so when you touch peds patients they don't get as anxious, in my opinion. Also, you can listen to both high and low frequencies with just one side. I personally think its the best one out there, and <a href="http://www.allheart.com" target="_blank">www.allheart.com</a> has it out there for about 120 bucks, a considerably cheaper amount than other places that sell it for about 155-180. The Master Cardiology is more expensive and may be better, but I can't give much of an opinion on that, because I haven't even seen that many. Many of the doctors I have seen have the Cardiology III.

    hope that helps.
     
  14. docuw

    docuw Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Feb 6, 2001
    USA
    I also have the Master Cardio III, and it has been great. I actually have 3 scopes, one a Classic IISE, a Welch Allyn Harvey DLX (supposed to be pretty good), and the MCIII. My favorited is by far the Master Cardio III - not only do I hear the sounds better, but it just feels substantial and not like a piece of paper being held against the patient.

    I also have worked with a cardiologist, and he cuts the tubing on his scope when he gets a new one. The shorter the better for listening - you just dont want it so short that you are in the patient's face!
     
  15. docab

    docab Member 10+ Year Member

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    Oct 9, 2001
    Hate to throw another differing opinion, but if you're going to spend the $$$, I'd consider Tycos Elite. Throughout medical school and the 1.5yrs year of residency, I used a Littman Cardiology III. I was then given the Tycos Elite as a gift. When another resident saw my new Tycos, he said "oh, I you've seen the light and have come to the other side" (meaning changed from Littman to Tycos). As an experiment, ~5 of us compared the two on site (user "blinded" study!) and each of us heard better with the Tycos. My Littman CIII now sits in my car trunk for emergencies (like accidentally leaving my Tycos at home).

    Someone already noted to get the shorter stethoscope, and I agree. You hear better. Go for the 25".

    Long and short of it, try out various ones and see which one you hear best through.
     
  16. nebula7

    nebula7 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jan 10, 2002
    Georgia
    My in-laws bought me a Littman Cardiology III as a getting in to med school gift (I start this Aug.), and they got it from reddingmedical.com.($128). Does having your initials engraved on them help? (as far as them disappearing goes)
     
  17. Valley Piper

    Valley Piper New Member

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    Mar 6, 2002
    Harrisburg, PA
    I have to agree with docab. I've used a 25'' tycos harvey elite for about two years and have no complaints. I personally feel that its more durable than a comparable littman and costs less (I got mine for about $102; I shopped around!). As for sound quality, there's none better. WIth the diaphragm and bell, low, medium, and high frequency sounds are detectable with superb clarity.
     
  18. jdaasbo

    jdaasbo Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Jan 7, 1999
    Littmann does wonderful marketing but their product is crap. This tunable diaphragm thing is a farce, all diaphragms attenuate lower pitched sounds with firmer pressure. The same is true for bells: in fact when you use forceful pressure on your bell you are converting it into a diaphragm by stretching the skin tight. Having a real bell is essential. Some things are heard only with a bell and disappear when you use your diaphragm. Littmann's master cardiology has no bell and the cardio III bell/cardio II SE bell sounds terrible. Go with the Welch Allyn, either Elite, or the Harvey DLX (designed by and name for W. Proctor Harvey, the Godfather of cardiac auscultation and physical exam).
     
  19. mentibang

    mentibang New Member

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    Feb 24, 2002
    malaysia
    littman of coz
     
  20. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    1,066
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    Jun 4, 2001
    I personally have the Littmann Cardio III and though very popular with medical students, I don't think it's a particularly good stethoscope. I have a lot of trouble hearing sounds and there often seems to be a lot of background noise, which makes it difficult to distinguish subtle findings. In addition, I don't particularly like the fact that you don't really have precise control of the tunable diaphragm/bell, as you would with one that you switch. Moreover, the diaphragm/bell head is kind of flimsy and a little too lightweight. The Welch-Allens are pretty nice scopes in comparison.
     
  21. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    1,066
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    Jun 4, 2001
    By the way, have you guys tried the new Nimbus Two Thousand? Oops... wrong school... :D
     
  22. intraining

    intraining Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Mar 6, 2002
    I was wondering what school you go to?

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by docuw:
    <strong>I also have the Master Cardio III, and it has been great. I actually have 3 scopes, one a Classic IISE, a Welch Allyn Harvey DLX (supposed to be pretty good), and the MCIII. My favorited is by far the Master Cardio III - not only do I hear the sounds better, but it just feels substantial and not like a piece of paper being held against the patient.

    I also have worked with a cardiologist, and he cuts the tubing on his scope when he gets a new one. The shorter the better for listening - you just dont want it so short that you are in the patient's face!</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">
     
  23. mcwmark

    mcwmark Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 20, 2001
    Well, I started with the Littman SE II (used it for 2 years), then tested the Welch Allyn Tycos Elite and Littmann Master Cardiology. They both make a world of difference, but to my ears, the Master Cardiology was a better scope.

    I have no problem hearing low-frequency heart murmurs with the single-sided bell/diaphragm.
     
  24. motogirl

    motogirl Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Mar 16, 2002
    IA
    Hey everyone. Although I am a pre MS1 until this coming August, I thought I would spread some advice that I have seen and heard from other docs. At the clinic I have been working at, one doc uses a Regency, and the other doc uses a stethoscope (he had to get new tubing for ) with the bell of a Classic II S.E. Some of the Osteo students from DMU that come in for clinicals use either the Classic II S.E. or the Cardio III. One nurse practitioner did have a Master Cardio with that tunable bell.

    The head doc there gave me a DRG (Doctor's Research Group) cardiology with the stainless bell as a gift last year. These are really good stethoscopes. The gel earpieces are really comfortable. The acoustics are awesome. That same doc borrowed my scope and detected a type one functional murmer with it. The only downfall of it is the price. I believe mine sells for $250 at med shops, and the lighter titanium is around $280 or so. If I were to just go out and get a scope with my own cash, I would probably just get the classic II S.E. It has been around for a long time and is good for general physical diagnosis.
     

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