An experimental study on the role and function of the diaphragm in modern acoustic stethoscopes

Lukasz J. Nowak*, Karolina M. Nowak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Vibrations of a diaphragm of an acoustic stethoscope in contact with a body of an auscultated patient are the source of the sound transmitted to the ears of a physician performing examination. Mechanical properties of a diaphragm can thus significantly affect the parameters of the transmitted bioacoustic signals. However, the exact relation remains mostly unclear, as the underlying phenomena involve complex effects of acoustic coupling between the diaphragm and the body of a patient. The present study introduces a detailed methodology for determining vibroacoustic behavior of a diaphragm of a stethoscope during a heart auscultation. A laser Doppler vibrometer is used to measure the velocity of vibrations at various points on the surface of a diaphragm during the examination. Synchronized recordings of electrocardiography signals are used for segmentation. Representative data sets are selected and analyzed for various kinds of diaphragms. The results show significant differences in vibration velocity levels and their distribution across the surfaces of the considered structures, but no significant filtering effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-31
JournalApplied acoustics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic medical diagnostics
  • Stethoscopes
  • Diaphragms
  • Auscultation

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