If you’re a cardiology specialist (cardiologist) or cardiac nurse, you’d agree that your stethoscope is the most important instrument you need for first hand or quick diagnosis of heart abnormalities. And the need for accurate detection of the various normal and abnormal heart sounds explains why you must have a top-quality cardiology stethoscope.
Presently, there are hundreds of different models and brands of cardiology stethoscopes in the market, and making the right choice can be a real pain. This post explains some of the basics you need to understand about cardiology stethoscopes and features a review of the best stethoscopes for cardiologists and cardiac nurses.
- Cardiology stethoscopes vs. regular stethoscopes: What’s the difference?
- Best cardiology stethoscopes: What to look for before buying
- Best stethoscopes for cardiologists and cardiac nurses: Our top picks
- 1. 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope
- 2. ADC Adscope 600 Cardiology Stethoscope
- 3. RA Bock Single Head Cardiology Stethoscope
Cardiology stethoscopes vs. regular stethoscopes: What’s the difference?
While a cardiology stethoscope might look very much similar to the regular type used for checking simple heart, lung and Korotkoff sounds, it’s more advanced in terms of design, performance and quality. This allows for much greater ability to hear low and high frequency heart sounds with exception clarity, which is necessary because professionals in the cardiology field need to clearly hear the movements of the heart valves as well as the pumping of blood through the heart’s four chambers.
With a cardiology stethoscope, you can easily pick abnormal heart sounds such as murmurs, rubs, and clicks. And thus gives you a quick idea of what’s likely to have gone wrong in a patient with abnormal heart sounds.
A cardiology stethoscope usually has a shorter and thicker tubing to allow for faster sound transmission and prevent interference by unwanted extraneous sounds. It also has a heavier and better-designed headset, larger and thicker earplugs, and a metallic diaphragm. All these work together to enhance sound transmission and quality of cardiac acoustics.
Best cardiology stethoscopes: What to look for before buying
When looking to buy a good cardiology stethoscope, you shouldn’t hurry to buy whichever option that first comes your way. Rather, you should take your time to assess various aspects of it to know if it’s suitable for you or not.
Some of the things you might want to consider include:
- Weight: You sure don’t want a cardiology stethoscope that weighs you down and gets in the way while you try to do other things.
- Comfort: The eartips must be comfortable even after prolonged use.
- Quality: This goes without saying, but you don’t want to end up with a low quality stethoscope, as it might hide some of the vital heart sounds you need to hear.
- Brand: Some brands are just trusted more than others. If it sounds like a Chinese brand or one that no one has ever heard or seen before, it’s safer to stay away. Stick with brands you’ve severally seen others use.
- Price: While cardiology stethoscopes are usually more expensive than regular ones, they also vary markedly in terms of price. And you sure want to check your budget before paying for a new stethoscope. If you look carefully, you’ll always find a high quality cardiology stethoscope that fits your budget.
Best stethoscopes for cardiologists and cardiac nurses: Our top picks
After carefully scouring the cardiology stethoscope market, we were able to rank the best options using real buyer opinions, product features, reliability, brand trust, and price as our ranking parameters.
And here are the top three stethoscopes we could recommend for every cardiology specialist or cardiac nurse.
1. 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope
What we like
- Suitable for both adult and pediatric patients (comes with two-sided diaphragm; you can switch to either option by turning the stem of the chestpiece)
- Diaphragms pick low and high frequency sounds with a simple pressure chance (slight pressure for low frequency sounds and firm pressure for high frequency sounds)
- Has a 2-in-1 tube design that eliminates unwanted sounds that could confuse the listener, especially sounds produced by rubbing effect of two external tubes against each other.
- Earplugs designed to conform to normal ear anatomy to enhance comfort even during prolonged use.
- Tubing is 27-inches long, allowing the user to keep patient at a distance (if necessary).
- Shorter (22-inch) version also available.
- Lightweight (weighs about 180 grams)
- Comes with 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Made by a trusted US-based brand.
- Available in 16 different tubing colors.
What we don’t like
- Although moderate and justifiable by quality, price might be an issue for some potential buyers.
2. ADC Adscope 600 Cardiology Stethoscope
What we like
- Comes with adjustable frequency design (AFD), which enhances output performance.
- Headset is made of black anodized aluminum to ensure lifetime use.
- Chestpiece is precision-machined and made of stainless steel for outstanding acoustic performance.
- Ergonomically designed; easy to work with, wear, and keep.
- All parts made to withstand the pressures of daily, frequent, and prolonged use.
- Assembled and packaged in the USA by a trusted brand (American Diagnostic)
- Comes with lifetime warranty and spare accessories.
- Available in 10 different tubing colors.
- Quite affordable.
What we don’t like
- No shorter variant available (27-inches long)
3. RA Bock Single Head Cardiology Stethoscope
What we like
- Simple, stylish design
- One-sided, but pressure sensitive diaphragm.
- Looks and works just like Littmann models.
- Cheap when compared with others.
- Some buyers say it’s equal to or even better than the Littmann in overall value. (But which Littmann exactly? We don’t know.)
- Comes with lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.
What we don’t like
- Longer variant not available (24 inches long).
- Insert says “designed in Texas, made in China”.
- Tubing available in only one color (black).