1. ok,,i have a question about taking blood pressure (i am a student)

    What is difference between Bell and the diaphragm of the stethoscope? Which is better for detecting BP?

    I sometimes have trouble hearing the beats AT ALL.....what could be causing this? Wrong placement of cuff? Not finding the brachial artery? Please help!
  2. Visit pat8585 profile page

    About pat8585

    Joined: May '06; Posts: 399; Likes: 147


  3. by   flightnurse2b
    the difference between the bell and the diaphragm and the frequency of sounds they pick up. the diaphragm is better for auscultating high pitched sounds like breath sounds and the bell picks up more low pitched sounds like abnormal heart sounds. you can use either or for taking BP... i hear better with the diaphragm, some hear better with the bell. if you use the bell, just make sure you press it really tightly against the patient. if you still cant hear anything, double check all your equipment. make sure your tubing doesnt have a hole in it and that your cuff is directly over the artery... palpate before hand if you need to. it takes some practice, but you will get there!! good luck!
    Last edit by flightnurse2b on Nov 4, '07 : Reason: typo
  4. by   3KittiesRN
    Hi there! This is a very good question. When taking a manual blood pressure, you can hear the Korotkoff sounds better with the bell of the stethescope. The bell is used to pick up low-pitched sounds. I used to always use the diaphragm, but this semester I purchased a nursing assessment book and it recommended I use the bell. I have since used the bell for taking manual blood pressures and I can hear the sounds a lot better! I hope this helps!
  5. by   Jilaweez
    Both techniques work, it just depends on which you prefer. If you use the bell you just need to make sure you get a good seal. I still palpate the artery before hand to make sure my steth is in the right place.
  6. by   ebear
    Try readjusting the earpieces of the stethoscope too. Sometimes, if not placed in the ear just right, the sound is occluded.
  7. by   NursingAgainstdaOdds
    Also make sure your steth is "on". Some turn "off" by turning the head around until it has a soft click, which you can feel but not hear.
  8. by   NurseNature
    I had the same problem for longer than most of the other students in my class. I was freaking out! I thought how am I ever gonna be a nurse if I can't hear anything with my stethoscope? I inquired about hearing devices to enhance sound and so on and so forth and what worked for me was buying a really good stethoscope and playing with the different earpieces. I had to use the bigger squishier ones and then before putting them to my ears I pull out on both metal pieces at the base. I have heard fine ever since and I even caught my first murmur today all by my lonesome!
  9. by   ebear