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What is a stethoscopeAccording Merriam-Webster Dictionary a stethoscope is an instrument used by many health care professionals to listen to a patients heart and lungs Also the term stethoscope derived from the French word stthos which in reference to the body means chest Several parts make up the framework of the stethoscope as shown in Figure 1 However the most important parts of the stethoscope are the diaphragm and the bell The diaphragm is the larger flatter side of the chest piece and the bell which is positioned above the diaphragm is the smaller piece and has a hole in it Kubin The diaphragm and bell serve different functions on the stethoscope The diaphragm is mainly used for higher pitched sounds such as breath sounds and normal heart sounds Kubin While the bell is used for lower pitch sounds like heart murmurs and bowel sounds Kubin Figure 1 The anatomy of a stethoscopeThe origin of the stethoscope Ren Laennec at the Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris France invented the stethoscope in 1816 Kubin However over time stethoscopes became more advanced Today current designs of the stethoscope are accredited to Dr David Littman of Harvard University who made them lighter and gave them better acoustics Kubin 1 How to properly use a stethoscope To properly wear a stethoscope one should place ear tips into ears and twist them until they point slightly forward towards your nose Kubin 1 To hold a stethoscope one should hold it between the inner part of the index and middle finger as shown in figure 2 This will allow you have a better grip on the Figure 2 How to hold a stethoscopestethoscope To accurately place a stethoscope put the chest piece diaphragm or bell directly against the skin for the best sound transmission Kubin 1How does a stethoscope workMuch like your own eardrum the diaphragm vibrates When the diaphragm vibrates it moves the column of air inside the stethoscope
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