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Stethoscope History

Stethoscope History


Stethoscope history began in 1816 with French physician, Dr. Rene Laennec. He described his historical stethoscope invention as follows:

(Stethoscope History, translated from French) 
"In 1816 I was consulted by a young woman presenting with general symptoms of disease of the heart. Owing to her stoutness, little information could be gathered by application of the hand and percussion. The patient's age and gender did not permit me to resort to the kind of examination I have described (placing my ear to her chest). I recalled a well known acoustic phenomenon: if you place your ear against one end of a wood beam the scratch of a pin at the other end is distinctly audible. It occurred to me that this physical property might serve a useful purpose in the case I was dealing with. I then tightly rolled a sheet of paper, one end of which I placed over the precordium (chest) and my ear to the other. I was surprised and elated to be able to hear the beating of her heart with far greater clearness than I ever had with direct application of my ear. I immediately saw that this might become an indispensable method for studying, not only the beating of the heart, but all movements able of producing sound in the chest cavity."

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