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5 Must-have Medical Diagnostic Tools



From blood samples to urine testing, diagnostic medical tools help clinicians to measure and observe different aspects of a patient’s health to record a complete diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is ready, the clinician can prescribe an appropriate treatment plan according to the diagnosis.

Diagnostic medical tools are found in outpatient care centers for pediatrics and adults, emergency rooms, inpatient hospital rooms, and intensive care units.

Below is the list of some of the most commonly used diagnostic tools:

1. Stethoscopes

Stethoscopes are the most recognizable tool of all medical diagnostic tools. The prominent use is to listen to heart sounds and rates, the lungs, and blood flow in the veins and arteries.

Stethoscopes help to diagnose:

  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Arrhythmia
  • Heart valve issues
  • Heart palpitations
  • Heart disease

Stethoscopes are even useful along with a sphygmomanometer for measuring blood pressure. An electronic stethoscope improves sound quality while listening to the high-pitched pulmonary sounds and low-pitched heart sounds. One can connect it to a computer for recording and saving the sounds. One can also connect it to distributors to enable multiple people to listen to adjoining stethoscopes. This last feature is essential while training interns, residents, or fellows.

2. Thermometers

We are aware of how vital the thermometer temperature checks are. From routine physical checkups to any emergency treatments, thermometers are required everywhere. And to ease these tasks, now we have electronic thermometers that can fasten the time the thermometers usually take to check the temperature. Usually, doctors place thermometers in body parts like the mouth, under the armpit, or the ear. One can set the electronic ones on any specific part of the body to give an accurate temperature of the whole body.

3. Sphygmomanometers

Evidence-based medicine has proven already that blood pressure measurement is vital in determining a person’s overall health.

Sphygmomanometer helps to diagnose:

  • Diabetes
  • Artery hardening
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Arterial plaque

High blood pressure gives birth to several diseases related to kidneys or blood vessels. The medical market already has a few products that are useful in measuring blood pressure. Manual sphygmomanometers are the most reliable out of all. Mercury manometers do not require routine calibration and hence are helpful in high-risk scenarios.

Digital finger blood pressure monitors are the tiniest and also most portable. They are easy to operate but a bit less accurate. One can inflate those either manually or automatically. They indirectly derive blood pressure. Digital units measure mean arterial pressure, which translates into an average of systolic and diastolic pressure. The digital sphygmomanometer must derive the systolic and diastolic readings.

4. Ophthalmoscopes

Ophthalmoscopes are handheld tools that allow a physician to see into the fundus of a patient’s eye. This diagnostic tool is commonly useful in physical or outpatient exams.

Ophthalmoscopes help to diagnose:

  • Glaucoma
  • Bacterial infections
  • Detached retinas

There are two types of ophthalmoscopes:

Direct Ophthalmoscopes

It produces an upright image applying approximately 15 times magnification. One needs to hold these tools as close to the patient’s eye as possible.

Indirect Ophthalmoscopes

One needs to hold these 24 to 30 inches away from the patient’s eye. Indirect ophthalmoscope produces an inverted image of 2 to 5 times magnification. Indirect ophthalmoscopes possess more powerful light; thus, they are more effective than direct Ophthalmoscopes on patients with cataracts.

5. Otoscopes

Otoscopes are handheld devices that allow physicians to look into the ear canal and view the tympanic membrane through magnification.

Otoscopes help to diagnose:

  • Ear infections
  • Causes of vertigo or dizziness
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Swimmers ear
  • Meniere’s disease

Otoscope’s head has a light too. So, together with the magnifying lens, it is possible to view the outer and middle ear through that light. The portion which the physician inserts into the patient’s ear canal is the disposable speculum. One can store disposable specula in a dispenser in the exam room to attach a new and clean one to the otoscopes for each patient.

6. Electrocardiograph

An electrocardiograph is useful in measuring the electrical activity of the heart. During the electrocardiograph examination, one can even record the heart rate and the regularity of the beats. We know these two are the key indicators of any issues in the heart, right? Physicians can even refer to an electrocardiograph to determine the position and size of each heart chamber. And one of the vital uses of the electrocardiograph is to diagnose the total damage of the heart and the impact of drug treatment or device implant on it.

Medical testing tools are advancing with the help of technologies. With it, the methods of diagnosis are also advancing. For instance, one can easily perform blood or urine testing by themselves with the helpful medical equipment. These common diagnosis tools are the most useful since the day they came into the medical market.

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