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Differential stethoscope, England, 1910-1940

Two chest pieces make this design different from the standard binaural stethoscope. Sounds from two different areas of the body could be heard simultaneously and compared. It also gave the physician a better chance of pinpointing the source of a sound. The differential stethoscope was first described in 1859 by Scottish physician Dr Somerville Scott Allison (1813-1877). He was an expert in both pulmonary tuberculosis and heart disease. However, his instrument was not of much use and therefore not widely used.

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Glossary: stethoscope

A device which is used to listen to sounds produced by the human body. Ordinarily a stethoscope consists of rubber tubing in the shape of a Y.

Glossary: clinical diagnosis

A diagnosis given based on the signs and symptoms of a disease.