health care instruments

Littmann Stethoscopes – A Review

healthcare monitorsLittmann stethoscopes are named for their inventor, Dr. David Littman, cardiologist and professor at Harvard Medical School. Littmann’s contribution to the world of stethoscopes is widely accepted as the biggest advancement in these instruments since the first doctor pressed his ear against a patient’s chest.

His improvement involved creating a stethoscope with two chest pieces. One that is open and used to hear sounds that are lower in pitch and the other that is flatter and more closed through which the higher pitched sounds can be heard with more effectiveness. The result of his invention was allowing physicians to make better diagnoses of patients’ internal sounds with a single instrument.

Littmann sold his stethoscope company, Cardiosonics, Inc., in 1967 to IBM. The larger company’s vast research and development budget allowed for further advancement in stethoscope technology. These include the tunable stethoscope which allows a single chest piece able to hear both low- and high-frequency sounds. The earlier models were designed so that by simply applying more or less pressure to the chest piece, the doctor could listen to either range.

As a cardiologist, Littmann designed his stethoscope with this specialty in mind, but today doctors of all specialties, and even general practitioners, take advantage of the superiority of the Littmann stethoscope to help with their diagnoses.

One of the most popular models is the Littmann Cardiology III which can be used on both adult and pediatric cardiology patients. It features a two-tubes-in-one design that eliminates external noise.