Stethoscopes have been the biggest hallmark of a doctor, at least in popular culture, but researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York are suggesting that doctors may ditch the tool in the near future.
Writing in an editorial published in Global Heart, Dr Jagat Narula and Dr Bret Nelson said that the increasing popularity of portable ultrasound devices means that doctors will be swapping them for stethoscopes.
Invented in 1816, stethoscopes have helped doctors to listen to amplified sounds of a body in order to detect whether there is any trouble. Ultrasounds on the other hand make use of sound pressure waves to reflect images from inside the body and are often used to take a closer look at internal organs without surgery.
The editorial has been backed by a number of doctors with University Hospitals Case Medical Center's Dr Sahil A. Parikh saying, "It is relatively complex and difficult to interpret in the hands of the average physician, and I think it will be generations before we see the disappearance of the stethoscope."