Canadian Journal of Anaesthesia

, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 535–542

Stethoscopy during anaesthesia

  • John W. R. McIntyre
Review Article



First, to determine when, following the description of stethoscopy by Laennec. it was used by anaesthetists in an operating room and. second, to describe the developing possibilities for stethoscope monitonng.


A manual search of the medical literature based onIndex Medicus and relevant publications were obtained and analyzed. Textbooks randomly available were also read.

Principal Findings

Stethoscopy was first described early in the 20th century but was not widely recommended for anaesthesia until the 1950s. The change in attitude to stethoscopy during anaesthesia was probably due to alterations in anaesthesia delivery: increasing difficulty in employing direct human sensing. However the complexity of practice often makes traditional stethoscopy ergonomically unsatisfactory. Substantial research in the sensing and analysis of lung sounds support the contention that cheap visual displays of information from suitably designed sensors could be made available for anaesthetists.


Current advances in sensing, analysis, and display of lung sounds could be used to create a simple and cheap device helpful for monitonng in the operating room.



D’abord déterminer quand le stéthoscope tel que décrit par Laennec a été utilisé par les anesthésistes en salle d’opération, et deuxièmement, exposer les possiblité qu’il offre pour le monitorage.


Recherche manuelle et analyse de la littérature médicale pertinente basée sur I’Index Medicus et la lecture de manuels choisis au hasard.

Principales consultations

L’usage du stéthoscope remonte au début du vingtième siècle mais n’a été réellement recommandé que dans les années 50. Ce changement d’attitude envers le stéthoscope est vraisemblablement dû aux modifications apportées à une façon d’administrer I’anesthésie qui est nuisible pour la surveillance immediate. Cependant, sur le plan de I’ergonomie, la complexité de I’anesthésie a rendu pénmé l’usage du stéthoscope traditionnel. Une recherche importante sur la réception et I’analyse des bruits pulmonaires supporte I’opinion selon laquelle les anesthésistes pourraient disposer d’un affichage visuel de I’information à partir de capteurs conçus spécialement et rendus disponibles à bon marché.


Des developpements recents en rapport avec la réception, I’analyse et I’affichage des bruits pulmonaires pourraient être utilisés pour fabriquer un dispositif simple et peu coûteux pour le monitorage en salle d’opération.


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Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. R. McIntyre
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnaesthesiaUniversity of Alberta HospitalsEdmonton

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