As christmas approaches I often get asked “i want to get my [insert relation here] a nice stethoscope, they are in Nursing school, and i want them to have a good stethoscope.” My answer has always been GO LITTMANN! They have become an industry standard and can be seen worn around the necks of many TV medical personelle. I recently was given the chance to try a Clinical Cardiology by Prestige Medical to compare it to my Littmann Cardiology. I have to say I was sceptical at first that anything could compare, and took on the challenge with the attitude of “prove me wrong” They scope arrived, and in the box i found, a black cardiology stethoscope with various attachments and accessories! There were 2 sets of earbud replacements, 2 diaphragm replacement pieces and a removable bell attachment. As with the Littmann, the feature of a Pediatric, and adult side is so helpful, especially when I work on the Maternity floor where i may assess both a mom and a baby in one room. The box contained also a name tag that snaps on to the tubing of the stethoscope. I noticed on inspection that it looked a lot like a litmann until a little green dot caught my eye. I got excited, this green dot showed which side was open, or “on”. With the dual diaphragm, you can’t see which side is open by looking at the bell so you are forced to tap each diaphragm before use, or if you forget look like an idiot when you can’t here a blood pressure or heart or lung sounds. This dot although small and seemingly frivolous, to me is a really nice “extra”. The tubing is a bit shorter then the Littmann which many studies have shown may increase acoustics. I will say if you are a stethoscope wearer, you will certainly feel the difference in the “hang factor” of this scope. Still wearable mind you and much less likely to strike a patient if you bend ove with it still drape around your neck.
The pediatric side is removable for those in a med/surge setting where assessing children is not likely. When attached it looks great and you cant even tell it is optional. It comes in 4 different colors, including black, navy, purple, and royal blue. You can purchase this scope for approx. $80-90 which is a far more affordable price then the Littmann at $170. It is sold by AllHeart Medical, Amazon.com, and many local retailers.
So is it worth it? Its looks the same, its cheaper, but what about the actual usage. I had no real complaints in regards to acoustics, I was able to hear a miriade of adventitious lung sounds, full cardiac assessments, and of course blood pressures, and apical pulse. I find the tubing a bit more rigid compared to my Littmann, but it has also been through years of use, and thus softened with time. I think this is a great scope for someone looking for a cardiology on a dime, and presents well in the packaging for gift giving. Overall i will be adding this to my list of “go gets” and would certainly recommend it without hesitation!