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In defence of auscultation: a glorious future?
  1. W Reid Thompson
  1. Correspondence to Dr W Reid Thompson, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Pediatric Cardiology, Bloomberg M2327, 1800 Orleans Street, Baltimore, MD 21287-2182, USA; thompson{at}jhmi.edu

Abstract

Auscultation of the heart using a simple stethoscope continues to be a central aspect of the cardiovascular examination despite declining proficiency and availability of competing technologies such as hand-held ultrasound. In the ears and mind of a trained cardiologist, heart sounds can provide important information to help screen for certain diseases such as valvar lesions and many congenital defects. Using emerging technology, auscultation is poised to undergo a transformation that will simultaneously improve the teaching and evaluation of this important clinical skill and create a new generation of smart stethoscopes, capable of assisting the clinician in quickly and confidently screening for heart disease. These developments have important implications for global health, screening of athletes and recognition of congenital heart disease.

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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