How to care for your 3M™ Littmann Stethoscope

How to care for your 3M™ Littmann Stethoscope

3M™ is the market-leading stethoscope manufacturer and they are renowned for their professional quality Littmann® Stethoscopes. If you have just treated yourself to a brand new 3M™ Littmann® stethoscope or bought your first stethoscope for Medical School, naturally you expect it to last you many years.

Unfortunately, at Medisave we often speak to customers who have damaged their stethoscope due to incorrect cleaning or care procedures, the most frequent damages being splitting or hard binaural tubing, discoloration, and lost diaphragms and eartips. We have created this guide to assist you in practicing the correct cleaning and care procedures. This should help you to keep your stethoscope in pristine condition and extend its lifespan. To prevent cross-contamination we recommend cleaning your stethoscope between patients. Here are our top tips for a clean and pristine stethoscope. To help you remember this we have created the acronym CLEAN:

  1. Clean diaphragms with alcohol wipes (with 70% isopropyl alcohol solution, with or without CHG) or soapy water (Please note that you should remove the diaphragm before cleaning if you are using soapy water)
  2. Leave a collar between your bare neck and your stethoscope when possible
  3. Eartips can be removed for a thorough clean – push these back on firmly
  4. Alcohol solution or wipes should be used to disinfect your tubing and chestpiece
  5. Never soak your stethoscope in any liquid

Cleaning & Care for Manual Stethoscopes (Classic III, Classic II Paediatric, Infant, Master Cardiology and Cardiology IV Stethoscopes)

Littmann™ Stethoscope parts fit perfectly to give you the excellent acoustic performance that they are renowned for, so when it comes to fitting or removing parts it can require some pressure.

Cleaning Your Chestpiece

Hold the chestpiece with both index fingers and thumbs over the rim. You can now roll the rim from the chestpiece. Remove the rim from the diaphragm and clean both parts in soapy water or with an alcohol wipe. The Master Cardiology stethoscope comes with a special procedures adapter, this can be cleaned by washing in warm soapy water or with an alcohol wipe.

Cleaning Chestpiece        Cleaning Chestpiece

Re-assembling Your Chestpiece

Make sure all of the parts are completely dry before you re-assemble your stethoscope. To re-assemble your chestpiece coat the inside edge of the diaphragm sparingly with talcum powder. This helps the diaphragm to rotate smoothly when you are changing the frequency and reduces any noise caused by this rotation. You can tap off any access powder by flexing the diaphragm with your fingers. Hold the diaphragm with the Littmann logo facing you and then pop the rim on, starting at one edge and moving your fingers round the rim to clip the rim fully into place. If the rim is correctly positioned it should be flush against the diaphragm all the way around. To attach the rim and diaphragm to the chestpiece insert one edge of the rim (with the diaphragm) into the edge groove on the chestpiece, you can then run your thumbs slowly around the rim to push the diaphragm into place. Check the diaphragm is fully attached all the way around so that it cannot fall off and so that you get optimal acoustic performance from your stethoscope. If you need to adjust the rim you can do this by gently pulling and rolling the rim edges. This allows the diaphragm to fall into the correct position.

Re-inserting the diaphragm

   Cleaning the binaural tubing

Cleaning Your Binaurals

The binaural tubing can be cleaned with an alcohol wipe. This includes both PVC tubing and the metal ear tubing. You can remove the ear tips to clean your binaural thoroughly. These should ''snap'' off and can be pushed back on once the cleaning is complete.

Daily Care for your Stethoscope

We understand that during the day it is convenient to wear your stethoscope around your neck, however this can lead to stethoscope tubing becoming hard and splitting due the oils in our skin breaking down the plastic. All new Littmann ® stethoscopes now include 3M's next-generation tubing, designed to be more flexible, durable and resistant to skin oils. This is great news and it should help to reduce damage to your stethoscope however we do still recommend that you keep a layer of clothing between your stethoscope and bare skin on your neck to help prevent damage. To assist you with keeping your stethoscope in pristine condition Medisave offers a wide range of Pod Technical Cases, carefully designed to look after your precious scope. Our cases come in two sizes, Classic and Cardiology. We advise using the larger Cardiology case for Electronic or Veterinary stethoscopes as these have longer tubing and you can fit these more comfortably in the larger case as coiling the tubing very tightly to fit the smaller case can still cause damage to your stethoscope over extended periods of time.

Removing the eartips      Cleaning the eartips

Even with the best care we understand that sometimes parts get broken or go missing. At Medisave we offer a wide range of 3M™ Littmann ® spare parts, from Spare Parts Kits with rims, diaphragms and Soft-Sealing Eartips, to replacement binaural tubing. If you are unsure of the part you require or you can't locate the part you are looking for please give Medisave Team a call on (203) 404-4876 and we will be happy to help you find the right part. If you do find your Littmann Stethoscope is faulty and you think it may be under warranty you can contact the 3M™ Littmann ® Repair Centre here and they can assist you with a repair or replacement.

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