The millions of physicians and nurses around the globe who use stethoscopes every day as a first-line diagnostic instrument have a new tool in their arsenal. 3M Littmann Stethoscopes is proud to introduce the new Cardiology IV stethoscope, engineered to help clinicians better perceive hard-to-hear sounds in the body, such as the high-frequency sound of aortic regurgitation grade 2 heart murmur at 48 dB(A). This is comparable to the high-frequency buzz of bee wings at a similarly quiet 42 dB(A).
“Sometimes the quietest sounds are the most critical, especially inside the human body,” said Steve Swenson, Global Business Director for 3M Littmann Stethoscopes. “The improved acoustic performance of the Cardiology IV stethoscope is yet another example of 3M’s commitment to enhancing auscultation technology to help clinicians arrive at precise diagnoses, quickly.”
The Cardiology IV stethoscope has tunable diaphragms on both sides of the chestpiece, allowing users to hear different frequency sounds by simply changing the amount of pressure applied to the chestpiece. The versatile chestpiece features pediatric and adult sides. The single-piece diaphragms have a crevice-free surface that offers easy cleaning. The stethoscope’s dual-lumen tubing eliminates rubbing noises that traditional double tubes create. The next-generation tubing also lasts longer and resists stains. Finally, snap-tight, soft-sealing ear tips form an acoustic seal that helps shut out external noises.
American College of Cardiology (ACC) President, Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC, recently highlighted the critical role of the stethoscope in arriving at accurate diagnoses, and stressed the importance of clinician education in a blog post. Dr. Williams wrote: “…basic auscultation skills – the ability to listen to and interpret sounds from the heart – are important skills for physicians to develop and maintain, even as new technologies provide complementary information. Learning to correctly interpret heart sounds reinforces the understanding of normal and abnormal physiology. The fact that doctors are failing to obtain and maintain this skill is something we should work to improve.”
3M agrees. “Stethoscopes are a cost-effective first-line diagnostic tool that’s in harmony with the future of consumer-driven healthcare,” Swenson said. “But, clinicians need to know how to use the stethoscope properly and what to listen for. With 2016 marking the stethoscope’s 200th anniversary, it’s a good time to remind clinicians to maintain their auscultation skills. 3M provides auscultation training, including a new mobile app that’s available for free to Littmann brand customers.” He added that, with the 3M Littmann Learning Institute App from the 3M Health Care Academy, you can listen to real heart and lung sounds, test your knowledge and develop diagnostic skills using patient scenarios.