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Orientation of the stethoscope around the neck: A random phenomenon or an indicator of cerebral lateralisation? Cross-sectional survey

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This study aimed to determine whether the orientation of the stethoscope when placed around the neck by physicians is a random occurrence or if this represents a lateral preference. A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted, recruiting 186 medical doctors of all grades from the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff. Stethoscope orientation preference, and seven other measures of lateral preference (handedness, footedness, eyedness, earedness, hand clasping, arm folding, and leg crossing), were assessed. The percentage of right-type, left-type, and indifferent-type orientation for each of the eight lateral preferences was determined, and 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. Stethoscope orientation preference is not a chance phenomenon and may be an expression of cerebral dominance.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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