As you’d expect there is a surge in demand from new medical students looking for high quality stethoscopes that are approved by medical schools and within their budgets – some top of the range models can cost several hundred but it isn’t necessary in order for a well trained medic to do their job.
Student doctor forums are buzzing with newbies asking “is the Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope better than the Welch Allyn Tycos” and “can anyone tell me where I can get a pink stethoscope to support breast cancer awareness”
Clearly from the replies its not just the sound quality that is taken into account but the kudos that comes with the various models – black and chrome are seen as ‘classic’ however amongst the best sellers the colour of choice for doctors to be is ‘hunter green’ (pictured).
There are models for those wishing to make a statement about their support for organisations – stethoscopes that promote health awareness campaigns as in the breast cancer support example above and of course an obvious choice would be Blood Pressure Awareness although there is some debate about the value of readings taken when using a stethoscope to measure blood pressure. This article in the Times suggests “Time up for centuries old stethoscopes” however medical schools still insist that doctors to be begin their training with traditional models.
As the routine measuring of patients blood pressure is one of the jobs UK doctors would rather avoid the use of old style sphygmanometers and listening for the stopping and starting of the pulse through a stethoscope and are encouraging home monitoring with automatic machines that when used correctly are very accurate.
A quick search reveals many types of stethoscope – there is a surprising number of shops offering novelty stethoscopes – for fancy dress and parties and even stethoscopes in disguise to reassure and amuse nervous patients – especially children.