A stethoscope has evolved over the years into one of the most sophisticated medical devices. With its myriad variety and versatile functions, the stethoscope has been the object of attraction of medical professionals for centuries. Medical practitioners from all disciplines have prescribed stethoscopes for different procedures, like abdominal X-rays, mammography, angiography, mammograms, gastro-intestinal trichoscopy, gallbladder surgery, and the like. These stethoscopes have also been used by physicians to assess the patient’s condition, as well as the progress and complications of specific diseases.
Stethoscopes have many types and models. Some of them are:
Traditional Acoustic Stethoscope
The traditional stethoscope, also known as an ordinary stethoscope, has been the primary method of audiology and ultrasound detection since the mid-1700s. The transmission of sounds produced by the heart to the stethoscope’s ear piece and back is done by the wearer’s voice. This is because the stethoscope itself has a voice coil, which is the portion that receives the electrical signals and transmits them to the other parts of the device. In addition, the wearer’s breath is usually heard through the mouthpiece. The stethoscope’s larger variants include the Cardiology stethoscope (which are the largest and the most commonly used stethoscope worldwide), the Endoscopy stethoscope, the Cardiovascular stethoscope, the Diuretic stethoscope, the Orthopedic stethoscope, the Vascular stethoscope, the Stericardium stethoscope, and the vascular-interventional stethoscope.
The electronic stethoscope (also called the electronic stethoscope) is a smaller and more lightweight variant of the stethoscope. Compared to the stethoscope of the previous types, the electronic stethoscope uses the technology of radio frequency that allows the transmission of only those sounds that are within the range of that particular frequency. Hence, the device is capable of hearing all sorts of subtle sounds, such as heartbeat, breathing, or abdominal palpitation. Despite its smaller size, this stethoscope has the same functionality as the traditional stethoscope with the exception of the fact that it can pick up lower frequencies than the regular stethoscope can.
The chest stethoscope, also called the cardiac stethoscope, has the ability to accurately detect abnormal heart sounds and its irregular rhythms. It is equipped with advanced sensors that provide the medical practitioner with a greater degree of accuracy, which will result in improved treatment options and improved survival chances for patients who suffer from cardiovascular diseases like heart failure. The device is small enough to be placed right inside the chest cavity. This makes it easy for the medical practitioner and the patient to work together, even during an emergency. For added protection, the cardiology stethoscope comes with a digital monitor that shows an image of the chest in split seconds.
Compared to earlier stethoscopes, the modern ones have digital technology that allows for real time transmission of data. This means that medical practitioners can view the images that they are working on in real time by simply switching on their computer monitors and using a standard web browser. However, in order to receive or transfer this data, they need to have a real time scanner capable of detecting the data waves emitted by the stethoscope.
An aneroid digital stethoscope utilizes a diaphragm attached to the outer tubing, which then moves up and down to move the transducers. The diaphragm must be placed in proper position because if it is not correctly positioned, the sound produced will be muffled or distorted. The transducer is mounted on a piece of equipment called a probe that is padded for insulation and sensitivity. When the probe moves against the transducer, it produces an analog signal that can be amplified by a computer.
One main advantage of using digital stethoscopes over traditional ones is that they are easier to use and less invasive than most traditional models. The other main advantage is that digital stethoscopes are quieter and produce higher quality audio signals compared to traditional types. The one drawback of using these electronic stethoscopy tools is that they are expensive and difficult to adjust for varying patient sizes. Digital stethoscope models also have their drawbacks; for example, although digital stethoscopes are more compact and lighter than traditional models, this also means that they are difficult to transport from one place to another. Littmann Electronic stethoscope is a popular brand and one of the most trusted brands in the market today.
Rotary Reflex Stethoscopes
This kind of stethoscope has a bell-like whistle that is used to alert the user when there is a heartbeat, lung puncture, or any other unusual sounds produced by the lungs or heart. The whistle emits a high pitched sound when the lungs are at a peak capacity. The high-pitched sound indicates the shortness of breath. It also has a mechanism that will stop the air flow when it becomes obstructed. In order to prevent the sounds produced, it has a button attached that will be pressed automatically once the desired action has been performed.
The ear tips of the stethoscopes come in different sizes. This is due to the fact that different people have different ear sizes. Most of the stethoscopes have a standard size that fits all, but there are those that have the option of using different sizes to fit the ear tips of various people. However, most users prefer the standard-sized tubes because it is easier to handle, more comfortable to wear, and more reliable when it comes to detecting abnormal sounds.