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Air Med J. 2011 May-Jun;30(3):158-60. doi: 10.1016/j.amj.2010.11.009.

Auscultation in flight: comparison of conventional and electronic stethoscopes.

Author information

1
Département d'Anesthésie-Réanimation, Hôpital d'Instruction des Armées du Val de Grâce, Paris, France. jeanpierre.tourtier@free.fr

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The ability to auscultate during air medical transport is compromised by high ambient-noise levels. The aim of this study was to assess the capabilities of a traditional and an electronic stethoscope (which is expected to amplify sounds and reduce ambient noise) to assess heart and breath sounds during medical transport in a Boeing C135.

METHODS:

We tested one model of a traditional stethoscope (3MTM Littmann Cardiology IIITM) and one model of an electronic stethoscope (3MTM Littmann Stethoscope Model 3000). We studied heart and lung auscultation during real medical evacuations aboard a medically configured C135. For each device, the quality of auscultation was described using a visual rating scale (ranging from 0 to 100 mm, 0 corresponding to "I hear nothing," 100 to "I hear perfectly"). Comparisons were accomplished using a t-test for paired values.

RESULTS:

A total of 36 comparative evaluations were performed. For cardiac auscultation, the value of the visual rating scale was 53 ± 24 and 85 ± 11 mm, respectively, for the traditional and electronic stethoscope (paired t-test: P = .0024). For lung sounds, quality of auscultation was estimated at 27 ± 17 mm for traditional stethoscope and 68 ± 13 for electronic stethoscope (paired t-test: P = .0003). The electronic stethoscope was considered to be better than the standard model for hearing heart and lung sounds.

CONCLUSION:

Flight practitioners involved in air medical evacuation in the C135 aircraft are better able to practice auscultation with this electronic stethoscope than with a traditional one.

PMID:
21549289
DOI:
10.1016/j.amj.2010.11.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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