A stethoscope is used by a doctor, surgeon or healthcare professional to examine and evaluate their patients. Typically, it is used to listen to the sounds made by the human body. Most people may associate the use of this medical device for listening to a patient’s heart and lungs. While this may be true, the stethoscope is also used to listen to the sounds from other areas of the body.
The first stethoscope with an earpiece for each ear was developed by George P. Cammann. His medical device would be used with only slight changes for the 100 years. The next evolution of modern stethoscopes was designed by Dr. David Littmann in the early 1960’s. Today, the Littmann Stethoscopes manufactured by 3M are the industry standard. The devices tout modern design and high quality acoustics.
Functions and Locations Used on the Body
While the stethoscope is the mainstream vision many will remember when asked to recall their nurse or doctor, not everyone is fully aware of the full breadth of measurements the device assists in collecting.
- Heart: Your doctor will listen to the rhythm of your heartbeat to determine if there are any abnormal sounds.
- Lungs: It is helpful to determine if there is fluid build up in the lungs and if there are any breathing difficulties.
- Blood Pressure check: Sometimes, you may have noticed that the nurse will use the stethoscope while taking your blood pressure measurement. This is one way to count the heartbeats and listen to the blood running through your vein.
- Stomach: A doctor can listen to the sounds made by your intestines and other parts of the stomach. This can aid the doctor in determining if there are any stomach disorders or internal abnormalities.
- Prenatal care: During a pregnancy, a doctor will be able to listen to your heartbeat, as well as the baby’s heartbeat. Interestingly, the doctor can also monitor movements made by the baby while it is in the womb.