FAK hardware or you could have more in a 'home' FAK. pt 2, Stethoscopes

Discussion in 'Survival Medicine' started by DKR, Aug 5, 2018.


  1. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    The Disclaimer at the beginning of this section applies to this post.

    A Stethoscope is more than a piece of odd medical equipment to hand around one's neck, despite what you might see on the Tee Vee.

    Like any medical device, these come in multiple versions and vary wildly in both price and quality. While there are amplified stethoscopes, these are a specialty item and not suitable to a home FAK.

    For this post, I'll look at two types - single head and dual head (sometimes called a Rappaport stethoscope - this due to Sprauge brand of that name).

    Single head stethoscope -- these are often refereed to as a Nurses stethoscope)
    [​IMG]

    A dual-head 'scope: (a 'classic' Omron Sprague Rappaport type)
    [​IMG]

    Next is what to look for in a good 'scope
    Then, what can these be used for in a home FAK?

    The stethoscope has three major parts - the chestpiece, connecting tubes and the eartips..
    [​IMG]

    The eartip pieces are a short section of rigid material (binaural) with a set of earbuds. Pay close attention to these eartips. These come in multiple types and on the more expensive devices, are screw-on replaceable. The different shapes matter.
    The mushroom types excel in noisy environments.
    [​IMG]

    Soft types work well for those with sensitive ear canals
    [​IMG]
    Most come with this style of ear-tip:
    [​IMG]
    Your ears, your choice, this is mentioned here so you know you have a choice. My preference is the mushroom, but these can be painful to use for long periods... The ear tips should have nearly the same diameter exit orifice as the connector tube diameter.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The flexible connecting tubes matter as well. These connect the chestpiece to your ears. The drum may have one or two outlets and so, one to two connecting tubes.

    . A single tube (Y-tube) 'scope is fine for taking blood pressure measurements and listening for gorse chest sounds, like rales (chest congestion). These are often sold as 'training' or 'Nurses' 'scopes.
    The material used to make the tube can be small diameter and somewhat stiff PVC. I would not suggest these to anyone. They tend to do very poorly if stored folded/rolled in a FAK.
    They have a wide range of color choices, if this matters to you. Replacement Y-tubes often come with the earpiece as well as the tube is molded onto the earpiece.
    [​IMG]

    A larger diameter and softer tube are normally seen in the dual tube 'scopes. Larger diameter typically means a more sensitive device. A large diameter and dual tubing is my personal choice owing to Tinnitus and some loss of hearing from my military experiences.

    Then these is the chest piece.
    No matter if you decide to go with a single head unit or not, ensure a replacement diaphragm is available for that head. The more professional units will come with at least one replacement diaphragm.
    [​IMG]
    The chest piece itself
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Why would you want a stethoscope in your FAK anyway?
    Used with sphygmomanometer for checking blood pressure.
    Use for cheat sounds, like rales, and for faint pulse points at a persons joints.

    Once you get past these, the use of the stethoscope requires specialty training and thus is of little use for 'emergency' first aid. For long term home care, a quality stethoscope is a must have item.

    Bottom line, unless you are prepared to spend the time and money for advanced training, a good quality, "Nurses' type scope with large diameter tubes made of a flexible material should be enough for a good FAK -- for home or field. The cheatpiece on the device shown is teardrop shaped to aid in fitting under a BP cuff to obtain a accurate reading.
    [​IMG]
    A full kit with everything needed to take blood pressure readings can be had for less than the individual parts. Note here, the 'scope is a very low cost unit....
    [​IMG]

    As with anything, quality varies with price. So take you time in shopping and if possible, see if these are available locally, being able to see/touch to determine the quality and fit cannot be understated.

    Finally, practice! Learning to take BP is simple skill, but does take some time. Also, you should check the folks you will support with this to understand what 'normal' is for the person, both BP and chest sounds. This is very important in kiddos.

    (has sample sounds)

    (detail chart explain different sounds with some samples audio)

    why you hear what your hearing!

    heart sounds
     
    Bandit99, Sapper John and duane like this.
  2. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    To say nothing of the uses by mid wives, ditch dr's or anyone else with some medical training. Excellent idea and a long term use object as well. Have seen civil war surgery kits and at least 50 % would still be of use in a grid down situation by a medically trained individual and if no other level care was available, their drastic use might save your life. While I hate to say it, they are a major part of any triage situation.
     
  3. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    The third & fourth videos are great. The fourth packed full of information
     
  4. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Careful keep your stuff in a cool dry place and especially out of the heat.
    Rubber and synthetics still break down with heat and time .
    I use the blood pressure cuff for the wrist. cheap ones work OK Harbor freight has them for $12-$15 ,better ones at walmart go for about $30.
    But its not worth buying really expensive ones because the rubber breaks down any way no matter what it cost . if you forget to remove,inturrupt the batteries when not in use, they ruin your investment
    I have the very expensive stigmanomiters even with mercury gauges but it still falls back on the rubber involved .either in the cuff the pump bulb or the tubing .
    One might get a few hospital disposable cuffs and spare tubing and pump bulbs packed away for future use .
    Stethoscopes are handy for more than medical , it depends on the limits of you imagination .
     
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