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Using the Stethoscope

Using a stethoscope is pretty straight forward. Some Stethoscopes are better that others of course and usually the ones provided by the UK Services are adequate for the job. Use your stethoscope as much as you can when you first start out as a Paramedic as this will benefit you. Pretty soon you will become proficient in it's use.

Tip!
"Stethoscope Ring Sign" or Dermatographia in Respiratory Distress. An early and reversible sign of systemic distress in Asthmatics and others who are SOB is the skin changes you see when auscultating the chest. As you lift the stethoscope a visible ring or impress is left. This sign corresponds to the present degree of circulatory efficiency in the skin. Considered with other observations and findings it gives a real-time indicator of improvement or adverse change.

Tip!
Secure Loose Stethoscope Eartips. Those plastic ear tips that come loose on their threads can be secured with a couple of wraps of PTFE tape used by plumbers (cheap; at the DIY stores).

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Tip!
Contamination of the equipment by patient aspiration, blood etc can make the equipment difficult to use and cause infection control problems. Non-Patient contamination can take place. Animal faeces, urine, mould, chemicals etc. You name it! To avoid this as much as you can by placing your stethoscope on a plastic bag laid out on the floor beside you. Use the ones supplied in your vehicle for contaminated waste etc. They are sterile if still wrapped in a bundle.

Tip!
Sick of shouting? A handy tip for those hard of hearing patients. Clean the ear tips with a small alcohol swab. Allow them to dry. Put the ear pieces in the patients ears and gently speak into the diaphragm. You may be amazed at the quiet conversation.

 

All information in this section is for guidance and advice only and is assumed to be correct at the time of publishing. Check with your local training department before carrying any of the procedures in this section. The Paramedic Resource Centre cannot be held responsible for any error or omission in any page on this site.

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