REVIEW: Littmann Cardiology III — High performance for all budgets!

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Littmann Cardiology III is one of the brand’s best-sellers. According to our own estimations, it could be one of Littmann’s three best-sellers worldwide.

What’s the key to this stethoscope’s success?

3M Littmann Stethoscope, Cardiology IV, Black Tube, Stainless Steel Chestpiece, 22 inch, 6151

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There isn’t any secret involved. It utilizes a very simple recipe: Offering high performance at very competitive prices. Add to this the backup, reliability and background of the most renown brand in the market and we have the perfect recipe to create a best-seller.

(Actually, it’s worth taking a look at this Amazon link to read the 1000+ excellent reviews this stethoscope has gathered, something not many products can achieve).

By the way, we are only focusing on the Littmann Cardiology III in this article. If you feel slightly lost among all the Littmann models, we have the perfect article for you: “GUIDE: Littmann Stethoscopes Review —What’s your perfect one?” It will help you find the Littmann that suits your needs best!

littmann cardiology III stethocope black
The Cardiology III “All-black” version

That said, Cardiology III is the simplest stethoscope (and also the most affordable) of the Cardiology range. This means that it’s a perfect stethoscope for cardiology and other specialties such as pulmonology, internal medicine, anesthesiology…

Even so, remember that although it carries the word “Cardiology” in its name, this tool is not exclusive to cardiology or any other specialty. It simply is a stethoscope with a higher than average performance, more reliable, more accurate and with the capacity to detect more acoustic nuances.

Midsystolic clicks? Grade I murmurs? S3 and S4 sounds? They can all be heard and identified with a Cardiology III and a slightly trained ear. The Cardiology III range’s specialty lies in the nuances, the sensitivity and the detection of details with high accuracy.

In fact, many family doctors and nurses opt for models in the Cardiology range. Why do they do that? On one hand, because they want to have an excellent and reliable tool for diagnosis, which allows them to write impeccable diagnoses. On the other hand, Littmann Cardiology III stethoscopes are made in US, resilient, built with premium materials and with 5 years guarantee. These stethoscopes are made to last. A good stethoscope is going to be in your day-to-day life for over 15 years. Is this not worth a good investment?

The dual-frequency tunable diaphragm in Littmann stethoscopes

As is typical in most Littmann stethoscopes, both sides of the Cardiology III chestpiece come with dual-frequency tunable diaphragms. This means that we will obtain high or low frequencies depending on the pressure we exert on the client:

  • Light pressure: (Bell mode) Low-frequency sounds are auscultated.
  • Firm pressure: (Diaphragm or membrane mode) High-frequency sounds are auscultated.

The longest diameter side at the stethoscope’s chestpiece will be both the diaphragm and the bell we will use with adults; while the shortest diameter side will perform the same functions in case of pediatric patients.

This is, in fact, one of the biggest advantages of Littmann’s: in one stethoscope, we have a tool that is useful for both adult and pediatric patients. Besides, if we wish to turn the shortest diameter side into a bell (a traditional open bell), the stethoscope incorporates a non-chill bell sleeve to replace the adjustable diaphragm that comes by default.

Dual-lumen tubing

Littmann Dual-lumen tubing
Littmann Dual-lumen tubing

Reducing environmental and friction noise has always been a challenge with acoustic stethoscopes. Littmann has achieved an improvement in this matter thanks to the quality of their materials and the inclusion of dual-lumen tubing. Dual-lumen tubes are a slight variation of the stethoscope’s typical shape that enables the reduction of friction noise and increases acoustic performance.

The Cardiology and Electronic series are the only ones featuring dual-lumen tubing, since they include the brand’s highest performance models.

Littmann Cardiology III materials and manufacturing

As we mentioned earlier, Littmann stethoscopes are made to last. But in practical terms, what does this really mean?

To start with, Cardiology III’s chestpiece is made with aerospace degree steel alloy. Moreover, it includes some anodized aluminum components to reduce weight. One of the issues when using aluminum only in stethoscopes’ heads is that such material doesn’t excel at sound conductivity. That is the reason Littmann utilizes aerospace degree steel alloys in its core parts: They excel at the transmission of sound and are incredibly wear resistant.

On the other hand, its tubes are manufactured with a resilient next-generation material, pressure and folding resistant, with the ability to come back to original shape after being folded in a small pocket. Moreover, they are resistant to the oil in the skin or to alcohol and do not carry any latex or phthalate plasticizers.

3M Littmann Learning Institute app

Additionally, Cardiology III includes a smartphone application called “3M Littmann Learning Institute app”. This app is designed for the practice and improvement of your auscultation and diagnosis skills. It may not prove very useful if you are a medicine professional with many years of experience, but it is a great tool in the hands of students or novice doctors. It allows you to hear real sounds of hearts and lungs to identify pathologies, besides doing a follow-up on your progress and testing your knowledge.

List Price

Until now, we have looked at some of Littmann Cardiology III’s most striking features. We only have one question to answer: How much does this marvel cost? While its typical price oscillates around $180, you can often find it at a cheaper price. Its current price in Amazon is:

3M Littmann Stethoscope, Cardiology IV, Black Tube, Stainless Steel Chestpiece, 22 inch, 6151
  • Diagnose and make decisions with confidence
  • Hear subtle changes in patient status
  • Useful in critical care and challenging environments such as the ED, ICU, Cardiac ICU, step-down unit and other dynamic locations
  • 7-year warranty

Finally, remember that if Littmann Cardiology III doesn’t convince you for any of its features, you can visit our comparative of all Littmann models, where you might find a model to better suit your needs and budget!

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