Littmann 3200 Electronic Stethoscope
There is no medical device more iconic of medical practice than the stethoscope we carry in our lab coat or drape around our neck. I’ve been a user of the Littmann 3200 digital stethoscope for many years. As an early adopter of this technology it was obvious that this $400 stethoscope had many advantages over traditional stethoscopes. Firstly, is features ambient noise reduction, facilitating auscultation in noisy environments. As I am a pediatrician this alone is worth its purchase. Additionally, it can be used to improve auscultation via it’s ability to “magnify” sound volume without sacrificing sound quality. As my hearing is not as good as it was 30 years ago, I also find this feature particularly useful. It is an easy matter to learn how to navigate the interface. One pushes a button to turn the stethoscope on, presses a plus or minus button to change the volume level. Another button changes the frequency level from bell to diaphragm as well as to a combined mode. One of the best features of the Littman 3200 is that it can record up to 12, 20 second sound tracks. This can be used to record heart murmurs or lung sounds. I place the ear tips in the parent’s ears so I can demonstrate what I have heard. This makes it very easy to share the significance of my findings parents and patients. The stethoscope can cannect via Bluetooth to a pc or mac computer and Littmann’s free StethAssist software can be used to transfer auscultated recordings to your computer. In a future article I will detail a portal developed by Sensicardiac which analyses recorded murmurs and indicates whether the murmur is benign or whether the patient should be referred to cardiology for further evaluation.
Here is a link to an article I’ve written on this subject in Contemporary Pediatrics