Contact: Stephanie Sanderson
3M Littmann Electronic Stethoscope Model 4100WS Helps Nonprofit Deliver
Medical Care to India's Tsunami Survivors Via Telemedicine
Ambient Noise Reduction, Recording and Transmission Capabilities
Help Enhance Effectiveness of Telemedicine Efforts
Saint Paul, Minn. (April 24, 2006) – Surrounded by the commotion of hundreds of tsunami
refugees and the relentless blare of traffic noise, shouts and children's cries, a volunteer at a mobile
medical clinic in southern India uses a newly donated electronic stethoscope to listen to a young girl's
lungs. What he hears astounds him. Sounds, through a stethoscope, that are amplified and clearly
audible, yet without any interference from the racket of the open-air clinic.
Nearly 8,000 miles away in Arizona, a doctor is also listening. Digital sound files recorded by
the stethoscope have already been sent to him via satellite. There is no indication of ambient noise. In
fact, the tone and clarity of the digital sound allows the doctor to detect the subtle, dry crackling
sounds of tuberculosis.
This was a scene from a real-life telemedicine effort at a tsunami relief camp outside
Bhimavaram in southern India this February. Volunteers of the nonprofit organization Humanitarian
Emergency Logistics and Preparedness (HELP) relied on the 3M Littmann Electronic Stethoscope
Model 4100WS, donated by the company, as a key telemedicine tool to provide follow-up medical
relief in the region.
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Thanks to advances in digital, satellite and medical equipment technologies, telemedicine is
changing the face of healthcare by bringing specialist care to rural areas, disaster zones and remote,
poverty-stricken regions of the world. Even the stethoscope – the clinician's most basic diagnostic tool
– has evolved into a sophisticated precision instrument capable of managing, recording and
transmitting sound to enable more effective telemedicine.
Providing the latest in advanced auscultation technology, the Littmann Model 4100WS reduces
ambient noise by an average of 75 percent, offers amplification up to 18 times greater than acoustic
(non-electronic) stethoscopes, and records and saves digital sound files that can then be downloaded to
IBM-compatible computers or Pocket PCs. These capabilities enabled HELP volunteers to overcome
many of the difficulties associated with practicing telemedicine in one of the poorest regions of the
A Triumph of Technology: HELP's Telemedicine Efforts in India
With Dr. Alan Michels of Arizona providing expert diagnostics and oversight from the United
States, HELP recently operated four mobile medical clinics in India. The first mobile clinic was set up
in a relief camp of tsunami survivors who had been displaced inland. "This was a camp of 1,200 grass
huts, without plumbing, electricity or anything even close to resembling a bathroom," explained HELP
President Randy Roberson. "As you can imagine, our telemedicine efforts provided some of the only
relief the refugees had known for nearly 1½ years."
The HELP volunteer medical team examined hundreds of patients, with ailments ranging from
tuberculosis, elephantiasis and HIV to heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders and hygiene-related skin
infections. The team referred the serious cases to Dr. Michels in the United States using a satellite link,
an advanced laptop computer and peripheral medical devices, such as the Littmann Model 4100WS.
Via telemedicine, Dr. Michels was able to see and interview patients, and review their vital signs as
well as medical histories.
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Littmann Model 4100WS in Action
The noise reduction capabilities of the newly donated stethoscope quickly became evident to
Dr. Michels. During teleconferences with HELP staff, Dr. Michels could hear the traffic sounds and
noise from the hundreds of refugees who had gathered at the clinic. "It astounded me that the lung and
heart sounds that Randy had recorded and sent to me had none of that peripheral noise," he said. "In
fact, I could hear the subtle crackling sounds of TB patients with much more ease."
The HELP volunteers in India were accustomed to the unique challenges of triaging large
numbers of patients. They also anticipated the chaos and noise that accompany these environments.
“But, we weren’t ready for how the 3M stethoscope moved us right past many of the challenges,” said
Roberson. “The ambient noise reduction capabilities of the Littmann 4100WS were nothing short of
The Littmann Model 4100WS incorporates 3M's proprietary Ambient Noise Reduction (ANR)
technology, which reduces ambient noise by an average of 75 percent, without filtering out critical
body sounds. Noise from the room enters the stethoscope through a thin gap in the chestpiece. Once
inside, this noise meets the ambient noise that has traveled through the patient’s body and entered the
chestpiece through the diaphragm. The ambient noise, traveling the two pathways, cancels itself out,
leaving only the heart, lung and other body sounds clinicians need to hear.
The stethoscope provides superior acoustics with amplification up to 18 times greater than non-
electronic stethoscopes. It also comes with proprietary Sound Analysis Software. This hardware and
software combination enabled HELP volunteers to record, store, visualize and share digital sound files.
"The recording, infrared transmission and visual display capabilities were extremely useful, giving us
not only a phonocardiogram, but a great place for keeping track of data on each patient," said
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For HELP, another important advantage of the Littmann Model 4100WS was its power source:
two AAA alkaline batteries. "We’re usually in rural parts of the third world and often during disasters.
We can't be dependent on 110- or 220-volt power," Roberson pointed out. "The 4100 performed very
well hour after hour simply with batteries."
A Scope Designed for Telemedicine, Teaching
The Littmann Model 4100WS offers the very latest in auscultation technology to meet the
demanding needs of teaching and other sophisticated applications that require recording, such as
telemedicine. The proprietary software that comes with the state-of-the-art auscultation instrument lets
clinicians and students see exactly what they are hearing on IBM-compatible computers or Pocket PCs.
The Model 4100WS enhances teaching opportunities, serves as a diagnostic aid and allows more
effective use of telemedicine.
About 3M Health Care
3M Health Care, one of six major 3M business segments, is dedicated to improving the
practice, delivery and outcome of patient care. 3M Health Care is a leading provider of solutions for
medical, dental, pharmaceutical and health information systems markets. Key brands from the 3M
Medical Division include: Tegaderm, Steri-Strip, Red Dot, Littmann, Micropore, Attest, and Ioban.
About 3M - A Global, Diversified Technology Company
Every day, 3M people find new ways to make amazing things happen. Wherever they are,
whatever they do, the company's customers know they can rely on 3M to help make their lives better.
3M's brands include Scotch, Post-it, Scotchgard, Thinsulate, Scotch-Brite, Filtrete, Command and
Vikuiti. Serving customers in more than 200 countries around the world, the company's 67,000 people
use their expertise, technologies and global strength to lead in major markets including health care;
consumer and office; display and graphics; electronics and telecommunications; safety, security and
protection services; industrial and transportation. For more information, including the latest product
and technology news, visit www.3M.com.
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3M, Tegaderm, Steri-Strip, Littmann, Micropore, Attest, Ioban, Scotch, Post-it, Scotchgard,
Thinsulate, Red Dot, Scotch-Brite, Filtrete, Command and Vikuiti are trademarks of 3M.
Humanitarian Emergency Logistics and Preparedness (HELP) is a nonprofit humanitarian
organization devoted to meeting the needs of the many victims of natural and man-made disasters on a
global basis. From the earthquake-ravaged neighborhoods of Colombia, El Salvador and Turkey and
the tragedy of floods, poverty and AIDS in Africa to the heartbreaking refugee camps of the Kosovo
war, famine in India and Bangladesh and the tsunami-devastated shores of Southeast Asia, HELP has
been there offering a cup of cool water to the thirsty, food to the hungry, medicine to the wounded and
shelter to the homeless. Our “Hand Up, Not a Hand Out” approach to relief and development ensure
true effectiveness while also offering true accountability. In 2005, HELP joined forces with Interactive
Medical Solutions (IMS) and its President, Dr. Alan Michels. For more information, visit