Stethoscope: FSA Eligibility
What are stethoscopes used for?
Stethoscopes are among the most commonly-used pieces of equipment by doctors and other medical professionals as it is the primary tool used for auscultation, or listening to the internal sounds in the human body. Stethoscopes are primarily used to listen to the heart to check for murmurs or abnormal operations of the heart's valves, measuring blood pressure as well as listening to the lungs and bowels for abnormal sounds that may relate to a medical condition (National Center for Biotechnology Information).
What are the main types of stethoscopes?
The modern stethoscope was invented in 1816 by a French doctor named Rene Laennec, at the Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris. Laennec discovered that by rolling up a sheet of paper to create an aural tube, he could hear the heartbeat of his patient, and the design evolved into the first stethoscope made out of a wooden tube.
By the mid-20th century, today's conventional stethoscope was put into widespread use after a series of improvements were made to the device to improve its acoustics, filter out excess noise and reduce its overall weight. Additionally, newer variants of the design have emerged in recent decades, including electronic stethoscopes that amplify body sounds. The electronic circuitry allows the sounds to be digitized, encoded and decoded, as well as eliminating ambient noise and giving medical professionals the option to send the sound through speakers or headphones (American Diagnostic Corporation).
As a piece of medical equipment used to diagnose a specific medical condition, stethoscopes are eligible for reimbursement with FSAs, HSAs and HRAs. Stethoscopes are a mainstay in clinical settings, but they have also become an increasingly popular piece of diagnostic equipment for at-home use for parents and single individuals alike to better assess the health and wellness of themselves and their loved ones.