First Aid Responder Level 3 (VTQ)

213 videos, 11 hours and 50 minutes

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Stethoscopes and Auscultation

Video 175 of 213
4 min 59 sec
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Mastering Stethoscope Usage and Auscultation

Delve into the intricacies of using a stethoscope and the art of auscultation for efficient lung assessment.

Stethoscope Essentials

  • Cleanliness: Given that the stethoscope comes in contact with the skin, ensure its thorough cleaning after each use to minimise cross-contamination.
  • Earpieces: Aimed at reducing infection risks, these should face forward for optimal auditory clarity. Regular cleaning is crucial.
  • Bellows: Handle with care, as a tap might produce a loud sound that can be startling.
  • End Types: Generally, stethoscopes, like the basic spirit stethoscope, have two sides — a softer plastic side for the chest and a harder one. To ascertain the active side, a gentle tap suffices.

Auscultation Procedure

Once prepared with the stethoscope, commence the process of auscultation on the patient's chest.

  1. Positioning: Four primary positions exist on the chest front:
    • Top mid-clavicular line, just below the centre of the clavicle.
    • Directly below the armpit, representing the lung's base.
    Comparison between the left and right sides is vital for accurate assessment.
  2. Lung Sounds: Aim for normal airflow recognition. Engage in constant practice on various individuals for proficiency in identifying diverse lung sounds.
  3. Percussion Technique: This method entails tapping the chest to discern between a hollow (healthy) and solid (fluid-filled) lung sound.

Maintaining Patient Dignity

While assessing a patient, especially in public settings, upholding dignity is paramount. Fully exposing a patient's chest isn't necessary; one can efficiently use the stethoscope through clothing. This method preserves warmth and respects the patient's privacy.


Stethoscopes and auscultation are pivotal in diagnosing respiratory ailments. By ensuring cleanliness, mastering the technique, and upholding patient dignity, healthcare professionals can offer the best care possible.