How The Stethoscope Evolved To Its Present Form

By: lynter
There is one instrument that revolutionized the medical profession. The stethoscope is perhaps the most used tool in the medical industry. The mere mention of a doctor brings on visions of an elderly, kind faced doctor with a stethoscope hanging around his neck. The word stethoscope means I see the chest. It is derived from the Greek language.

In the year 1816, it was standard practice for a doctor to listen to a patient's heart and lungs by placing his ear on the patient's chest. Rene Theophile Hyacinthe Laennec, a French doctor, found this to be embarrassing with one particular woman.

He took 24 pieces of paper and rolled them together. When he placed one end on the woman's chest and the other to his ear, he was astounded to find that the clarity of sound the invention produced surpassed the conventional method. He called his invention Monaural Stethoscope.

The original design of the stethoscope was drastically different from it is today. It was made of wood with a hollow center to hear the patient's heartbeat and a brass cylinder that could be removed to listen to the patient's lungs. The design had the appearance of a small telescope.

The Monaural Stethoscope was an invention that caught on. Although the doctor would have to hold it in awkward positions to get a good sound, it was infinitely better then the previous method.

This new invention was used for less than ten years when, Aldolphe Piorry designed the flexible stethoscope that made using the device easier and less awkward. In 1828, the new design was similar to the communication systems that were designed years earlier.

This upgraded version was simply a long tube that had an earpiece at one end and a listening device in the shape of a bell at the other end.

The material for the listening device was contingent upon the patient's social status. For the elite of the time, it was made out of silver.

A physician from New York City developed the first binaural stethoscope in 1852. George Cammonn's version included two ivory ear pieces that were connected to two tubes covered in silk by a hinge. The original bell shape listening device was kept. This version of the stethoscope was not patented because Dr. Cammonn's belief was that it should be available to all physicians.

The fetal stethoscope was developed to listen to the heartbeat of a fetus in the uterus. This device was based on the same design, but the listening device was shaped as a trumpet. When it was placed on the women's abdomen, the fetal heartbeat could be clearly heard.

In today's society, the stethoscope is used for more than medical purposes. Exterminators, home mechanics and even international spies use it. There are many different uses for it.

When it is used in the medical profession, it is used to detect a number of different abnormalities. It can be used to hear sounds in the heart, lungs, intestines and stomach and the uterus.

This incredible device was created to assist doctors in diagnosing heart and lung ailments. Since it's simple beginnings, it has become the most used medical instrument today.

Summary:

The stethoscope is a device that can be used in many different professions. An inventive mind can find different ways to use it. It has been redesigned over the past hundred years, but it purpose has always remained the same. It has a prominent place in today's society.
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