This instrument has become one of the main symbols of the medical profession. The origins of the stethoscope can be traced back to the French physician, Laënnec, who invented a crude model in 1819. It has undergone many modifications since then. The original consisted of a wooden box that served to help physicians hear the sounds within the chest cavity. In fact-the name stethos means chest in Greek.
Last Editorial Review: 2/1/2005