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Auscultation

Auscultation is listening to the sounds of the body during a physical examination.

Information

Auscultation is usually done using a tool called a stethoscope. Health care providers routinely listen to a person's lungs, heart, and intestines to evaluate these things about the sounds:

  • Frequency
  • Intensity
  • Duration
  • Number
  • Quality

Providers also use auscultation to listen to the heart sounds of unborn infants. This can be done with a stethoscope or with sound waves (called Doppler ultrasound).

Auscultation can also be used to hear pulses in the arms and legs.

References

Dorland's Online Medical Dictionary. Available at: www.dorlands.com/def.jsp?id=100010441. Accessed June 1, 2015.

Goldman L. Approach to the patient with possible cardiovascular disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 51.

    • Auscultation

      Auscultation - illustration

      Auscultation is a method used to listen to the sounds of the body during a physical examination by using a stethoscope. A patient's lungs, heart, and intestines are the most common organs heard during auscultation.

      Auscultation

      illustration

      • Auscultation

        Auscultation - illustration

        Auscultation is a method used to listen to the sounds of the body during a physical examination by using a stethoscope. A patient's lungs, heart, and intestines are the most common organs heard during auscultation.

        Auscultation

        illustration

      Review Date: 4/30/2015

      Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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