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World first at Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for digital stethoscopes

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Digital stethoscope
Dr Will Carroll (centre), consultant paediatrician with registrar Carley Frerichs, medical educator Ian Petranski and junior doctor Surabhi Varma

The Royal Derby Hospital is the first hospital in the world to use the new Littmann ‘Listen-In’ Bluetooth stethoscope system, developed by 3M.

This new system allows multiple doctors and students to listen simultaneously to the same patient’s heart, lung and body sounds by connecting up to five electronic stethoscopes. One acts as the lead stethoscope, directly capturing digital heart and lung data and then instantly transmits this via Bluetooth to up to four ‘listening’ stethoscopes.

Using this technology is better for the patient as they only need to be examined once, and for doctors they can here the same sounds at the same time, therefore avoiding any unnecessary delays to patient care.

A chance meeting between Dr Will Carroll, consultant paediatrician at the Derbyshire Children’s Hospital – based at the Royal Derby Hospital – and 3M during a respiratory conference in 2010 led to Dr Carroll being involved in the trial of this new system.

Dr Will Carroll said: “Whether diagnosing a heart defect in a newborn or discovering a life-threatening rumble in a elderly man’s abdomen, I think all clinicians can relate to that surge of excitement we feel when we discover something that we could use to help a patient.

“This new technology is proving extremely helpful when teaching students and on ward rounds as stethoscopes can now be linked together avoiding several doctors examining a poorly child repeatedly. This is so crucial for respiratory signs which can change from minute to minute in young children.”

Ian Kent, 3M Littmann business manager, said: “Our unique system allows medical students and junior doctors to benefit from the knowledge and skills of a senior clinician, helping them to learn correct patient examination technique and interpretation of body sounds.   

“Digital technology is helping the NHS to transform patient care and we’re grateful for Dr Carroll’s support for the Listen-In system.”


For more information contact:

Liz Smith

Communications Officer

Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Tel: 01332 785778


Notes to Editors:

The stethoscope has been used by doctors since the advent of modern medicine in the 19th century, with the first stethoscope being introduced in 1816 by Rene Laennec in Paris. The stethoscope reached its current form, more or less, in the 1960’s, courtesy of Dr. David Littmann. In recent years digital technology has expanded its capabilities and supported developments in tele-medicine and remote diagnosis.

The Littmann Listen-In mobile auscultation teaching system comprises five Littmann model 3200 electronic stethoscopes, one Android mobile device and Listen-In software.

The system can also be of value during medical student examinations as by hearing the same precise sounds as the student, examiners can have greater confidence in agreeing awarded marks.

About 3M

3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Its culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M’s healthcare business has its UK headquarters in Loughborough. For further information visit www.littmann.co.uk/listenin

3M is a trademark and Littmann is a registered trademark of the 3M Company.

Bluetooth is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SGI Inc.

Android is a trademark of Google Inc.