Stethoscopic investigations (part 3 of 3)

Would one normally expect a health-professional’s stethoscope to hang more predominantly to their left, or their right? And if there is a bias, what conclusions may be drawn? In 2007, professor Emmanuel Stylianos Antonarakis MBBCh performed a cross-sectional questionnaire survey with 186 medical doctors of all grades from the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff. The prevalent stethoscope-hang side (if there was one) was noted and correlated with handedness, footedness, eyedness, earedness, hand clasping, arm folding, and leg crossing of the subjects. The survey not only showed that :

“… 60%, 35%, and 5% of participants demonstrated right, left, and indifferent stethoscope orientation types, respectively. Stethoscope orientation preference correlated with handedness, footedness, earedness, and hand-clasping, but not with eyedness, arm-folding, or leg-crossing.”

But also revealed the (previously unknown) finding:

“Stethoscope orientation preference is not a chance phenomenon and may be an expression of cerebral dominance.”

Orientation of the stethoscope around the neck: A random phenomenon or an indicator of cerebral lateralisation? Cross-sectional survey is published in the journal Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, Volume 11, Issue 3, 2006

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