Auscultation of the heart and lungs by an expert clinician remains the most informative single diagnostic test available for the evaluation of the cardiovascular system.
Rapid Interpretation of Heart and Lung Sounds
Auscultation presents little risk to patient or clinician, and it is quickly accomplished with inexpensive, easily maintained, highly portable equipment. Unfortunately, it takes a sustained, dedicated effort on the part of the clinician to gain substantial expertise in auscultation-and substantial expertise is needed before accurate diagnostic findings can be obtained.
Auscultation potentially provides accurate information about the heart rate, rhythm, and blood flow within the heart and great vessels and may also indicate the presence and location of pulmonary pathologic conditions. Although the availability of sophisticated cardiovascular imaging methods ( e.g., echocardiography and magnetic resonance imaging) has added significantly to the ability to evaluate the heart’s function and anatomy, auscultation-interpreted in conjunction with a complete history and physical examination-continues to provide the key to deciding when these sophisticated diagnostic tests are appropriate. This program, composed of the book and a CD, is designed to help with the difficult task of acquiring expertise in auscultation.
This text and CD are adapted from the highly regarded program for physicians titled “Rapid Interpretation of Heart Sounds and Murmurs,” by Dr. Emanuel Stein and Dr. Abner J. Delman. In general, the physiology and pathophysiology of heart sounds and murmurs are similar in humans and domestic animals.
A heart sound simulator was used to create most of the heart sounds in this project. The use of simulated sounds was chosen for teaching purposes because it allows the listener to focus on heart sounds without the distractions of respiratory sounds and artifacts of hair rubbing against the head of the stethoscope.
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