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Radiostethoscopes: An innovative solution for auscultation while wearing protective gear

Keith A. Candiotti, MD, Yiliam Rodriguez, MD, Luciana Curia, MD, Bruce Saltzman, MD, Ilya Shekhter, MS, Lisa Rosen, MA, David J. Birnbach, MD, MPH


Objective: To demonstrate a radiostethoscope that could be modified and successfully used while wearing protective gear to solve the problem of auscultation in a hazardous material or infectious disease setting.
Design: This study was a randomized, prospective, and blinded investigation.
Setting: The study was conducted at the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Hospital Center for Patient Safety.
Participants: Two blinded anesthesiologists using a radiostethoscope performed a total of 100 assessments (50 each) to evaluate endotracheal tube position on a human patient simulator (HPS).
Interventions: Each lung of the HPS was ventilated separately using a double lumen tube. Four ventilation patterns (ie, right lung ventilation only; left lung ventilation only; ventilation of both lungs; and an esophageal intubation or no breath sounds) were simulated. The ventilation pattern was determined randomly and participants were blinded. An Ambu-Bag was used for ventilation. An assistant moved the radiostethoscope to the right and left lung fields and then to the abdomen of the HPS while ventilating. Subjects had to identify the ventilation pattern after listening to all three locations. A third member of the research team collected responses. Each subject, who wore both types of respirator (positive and negative), performed a total of 25 trials. Participants later compared the two types of respirators and their ability to auscultate for breath sounds.
Results: Subjects were able to verify the correct ventilation pattern in all attempts (100 percent).
Conclusions: Radiostethoscopes appear to provide a viable solution for the problem of patient auscultation while wearing protective gear.


auscultation, disaster training, emergency preparedness, medical education,HAZMAT gear

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