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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 168-173

I look into the chest: History and evolution of stethoscope

Department of General Medicine, Amala Institute of Medical Sciences, Thrissur, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Rony Vincent
Department of General Medicine, Amala Institute of Medical Sciences, Thrissur - 680 555, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpcs.jpcs_77_22

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Early physicians were taught with immediate auscultation, placing the ear directly on the patient's chest. They showed reluctance because it was questionable when the patient is obese, nonhygiene, and modesty, especially in cases of females. In 1816, when the freshly graduated physician René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laënnec had a consultation with a young obese woman with the symptoms of underlying heart disease, he recalled an acoustic phenomenon which is known very well beforehand for him. He rolled up a sheet of paper and placed one end to her chest and another to his ear to listen. Rest is history. He presented his invention to the world and made revolutionary changes in the art of patient care, which is valuable even nowadays. After his discovery, several scientists contributed their works to make this crucial device achieve more potential. Through many years, Laennac's device became the stethoscope that we have today. Now, the stethoscope has become the symbol of the medical profession.

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