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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 practice of the cleanliness of stethoscope was higher in consulting clinics (p=0.
The post Stethoscopes get smart at Dubai health show appeared first on Tahawul Tech.
I typically use my stethoscope and foam it on leaving the room.
But he was stunned when he tried out the stethoscope on himself as a joke and noticed that he had an irregular heart beat.
Thus, he very logically concluded that ' uninterrupted sound can be channelized to hear at a distance' which eventually enabled and guided him to design and develop his historic wooden stethoscope in February 1816.
It can be used to auscultate, but Doppler ultrasound is not as precise as the stethoscope when used by a practiced listener for identifying the source and subtle characteristics of murmurs.
Like many other devices, acoustic stethoscope has undergone various technological changes in order to ensure that doctors don't find any trouble to diagnose heart problems [3].
Stethoscope diaphragms were imprinted onto non-selective media (Blood agar), to grow aerobic bacteria and fungal pathogens, if present.
20 April 2016 - US-based drugmaker Merck's (NYSE: MRK) Merck Animal Health unit plans to acquire worldwide rights for the Whisper Veterinary Stethoscope System from Minnesota-based Geissler Companies, Merck said.
Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a stethoscope that can faithfully reproduce those sounds on a mobile phone app or send them directly to an electronic medical record.
I use my stethoscope to auscultate lung sounds, heart sounds and bowel sounds.
US-based medical device company Rijuven has launched CardioSleeve for Pediatrics, the first FDA-cleared device that adds ECG capabilities to transform any existing stethoscope into a smart, mobile-connected device, complete with 3-Lead ECG, Digital Auscultation, and real-time digital analysis optimised for pediatric care, the company said.