10 May 2019

Ambulance Service Clinicians- Which stethoscope is right for me?

Ambulance Service Clinicians- Which stethoscope is right for me?

Stethoscopes form part of the important diagnostic equipment carried by ambulance service clinicians at most levels.

The ability to auscultate heart, chest and gastrointestinal sounds dependent on the clinicians scope of practice often helps to make informed decisions towards a patients working diagnoses and often inform the care pathway and treatment given; making them essential diagnostic equipment. 

However, stethoscopes will often have to meet the harsh demands of the environments seen by ambulance clinicians and cope with challenges in storing the stethoscope securely whilst conveniently accessible for use in the emergency setting.

It should go without saying that investing in a stethoscope with greater build construction and robust design is certainly worth absorbing the additional price tag on some lines, for no other reason than to have the assurance of a stethoscope that will remain in good working condition for use within the hospital care setting. 

The two models of stethoscope that we recommend to clients in the pre-hospital care setting, depending on their skill level and scope of practice, are the Littmann Lightweight II Stethoscope and the Littmann Classic III range (formerly the popular Littmann Classic II line). 

For those intending to use stethoscopes for assistance in recording manual, non-invasive blood pressures (because of the teardrop-shaped chestpiece) or basic auscultation of chest sounds, whilst conscious of the kit weight and size restrictions, the Littmann Classic II is a lightweight entry level stethoscope that is robust and cost effective.

It’s ideal for Community First Responders, Lowland Rescue First Responders and other voluntary emergency responders; providing that the organisations scope of practice allows the use of these skills this is certainly the most cost effective way of obtaining a robust stethoscope… built to last weighing in at just 118 grams.

The Lightweight II stethoscope also features a dual-sided chest-piece and turnable diaphragm for auscultating high or low frequency sounds. 


 Littmann Lightweight Stethoscope from SP Services


Without advancing to the Littmann Cardiology Stethoscope Range, an ideal middle ground performing as a great 'all-rounder''and by far the most popular stethoscope amongst my customers, is the Littmann Classic III Range

For those pre-hospital care practitioners reliant on a stethoscope as a diagnosis tool to help inform diagnoses or treatment, the Littmann Classic III certainly is the stethoscope of choice that won’t let you down and is certainly a worthy investment for any practitioner (that also make great Christmas presents.....).

The enhanced quality of auscultated sounds achievable through the Littmann Classic III stethoscope allows clinicians to identify both normal and abnormal sounds and rhythms dependent on their scope of practice.

Littmann have certainly pulled out the stops with build quality supported by the generous five year warranty and will certainly be the stethoscope worn around the necks of many hospital practitioners and in the pockets of many pre-hospital professionals for many years to come. 



 Littmann Classic III Stethoscope from SP Services


Which brings us on nicely to, how should you store your stethoscope? 


One common problem that can be seen across the emergency medical services is when stethoscopes are stored in the side trouser uniform pocket with the soft ear pieces often not secured safely inside.

(like in the image below)

 Stethoscope in pocket

Leaving the ear pieces exposed can not only mean that they are likely to fall off and become damaged (rendering the stethoscope as virtually useless until a costly spares pack is purchased) but can be unhygienic for the clinician to then use.

Over flexing the stethoscope trunk can also cause impairments in sound quality and cause potential damage over time. 


One simple solution to this, is to store the stethoscope in a handy pouch like our long Parabag Pouches where an array of colours can keep your stethoscope safe from moisture, dust and dirt with the likelihood of damage significantly reduced to being stored in a pocket where storing stethoscopes around the neck can often cause security issues to clinicians working in the pre-hospital setting and is not accepted practice by many NHS UK Ambulance Trusts. 


As always, our team at SP Services are always on hand for product support and advice with our entire range of products on 01952 288 999. 


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