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(stĕth`əskōp') [Gr.,=chest viewer], instrument that enables the physican to hear the sounds made by the heart, the lungs, and various other organs. The earliest stethoscope, devised by the French physician R. T. H. LaënnecLaënnec, René Théophile Hyacinthe
, 1781–1826, French physician. While connected with the Necker Hospital in Paris he invented the stethoscope, which he described, together with the symptoms he had noted through its use, in his classic book
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 in the early 19th cent., consisted of a slender wooden tube about 1 ft (30 cm) long, one end of which had a broad flange, or bell-shaped opening. When this opening was placed against the chest of the patient, the physician, by placing his ear against the opposite opening, could hear the sounds of breathing and of heart action.

The stethoscope changed little until the beginning of the 20th cent. when the binaural instrument was developed by G. P. Cammann, a New York physician. It consisted of two earpieces with flexible rubber tubing connecting them to the two-branched metal chest cone. Thus the sounds could be heard with both ears, and the instrument's flexibility permitted the physician to listen to various areas without changing his position. Electronic stethoscopes make it possible for several clinicians to listen at the same time to the sounds emitted by a particular organ.

Stethoscopy (also called auscultation), used together with percussion (light tapping of the chest), is a fundamental diagnostic measure in medical practice. The qualities of the sounds emitted by the lungs and heart denote the health or abnormality of these organs. Many diseases of the heart and lungs, and sometimes of the stomach, blood vessels, and intestines, can be recognized early by skillful use of the stethoscope.


See study by M. D. Blaufox (2001).



an instrument for listening to cardiac, respiratory, and other sounds originating within the body of man and animals. The stethoscope was invented in 1816 by the French physician R. Laёnnec (1781–1826), who developed the diagnostic method of auscultation.

Rodlike stethoscopes are shaped like wooden or hard rubber tubes with funnels of different diameters at the ends. Their advantage is that they can transmit sound not only through a column of air but through the solid part of the stethoscope and the temporal bone of the examiner. Binaural stethoscopes, which are more common, consist of a funnel and elastic tubes, the ends of which are inserted into the external acoustic meatus. More convenient to use during examinations than simple stethoscopes, binaural stethoscopes are often combined with phonendoscopes, which intensify auscultatory sounds.


An instrument for indirect auscultation for the detection and study of sounds arising within the body; sounds are conveyed to the ears of the examiner through rubber tubing connected to a funnel or disk-shaped endpiece.


1. Med an instrument for listening to the sounds made within the body, typically consisting of a hollow disc that transmits the sound through hollow tubes to earpieces
2. a narrow cylinder expanded at both ends to recieve and transmit fetal sounds
References in periodicals archive ?
The subjects were stabilized in a left lying position, and the esophageal stethoscope (Deoyal(r), USA) was fixed at the position where the S1 sound was heard the loudest.
To compare values, heart rate was measured simultaneously with the esophageal stethoscope and ECG 100 times each using the pressor agent and beta blocker.
A Bland- Altman plot was made using the MedCalc (version 12.3.0, MedCalc Software, Mariakerke, Belgium) program to compare heart rate in the esophageal stethoscope and ECG, and the correlation between the two measurements was analyzed using the Pearson's correlation coefficient method.
The heart rate from the esophageal stethoscope and ECG was expressed through a Bland-Altman plot (Fig.7).
It is highly probable that surrounding noise that was not completely removed accounted for the slight difference in heart rate between the esophageal stethoscope and ECG.
The radial artery was secured for continuous measurement of the blood pressure and the esophageal stethoscope was positioned to listen to heart sound.
Portion of the recorded data through the esophageal stethoscope that coincided with the noise in the operating room was removed and filtering was performed by using Cool Edit Pro 2.1(Syntrillium Software Corporation Phoenix USA) and noise such as respiratory sound etc was removed with low-pass filtering.
The heart sound measured through esophageal stethoscope was stored in the receiver through the wireless Bluetooth transmission and S1 and S2 were easily distinguished by removing the external noise through the computer recording program and filtering (Fig.1).
Esophageal stethoscope and heart sounds have been studied in various clinical studies.