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A Basic Guide to Chest Auscultation

Speciality Classification
Nurses and Midwives
Location
Online
Delivery
Online
Duration
4 minutes
Provider
Ausmed

Chest auscultation is a straightforward but highly useful diagnostic technique that dates back to over 2,000 years ago.

What is Chest Auscultation?

Chest auscultation involves using a stethoscope to listen to a patient’s respiratory system and interpreting the lungs sounds heard (Physiopedia 2015).

Auscultation is a fundamental component of physical examination that can assist in the diagnosis of respiratory issues. It is a non-invasive, safe procedure dating back to the era of Hippocrates (who used his ear rather than a stethoscope), making it one of the oldest diagnostic techniques (Physiopedia 2015; Sarkar et al. 2015; Proctor & Rickards 2020).

In addition to the respiratory system, auscultation can also be used to examine the heart, circulatory system and gastrointestinal system (Physiopedia 2015).

Despite being a fairly straightforward assessment, chest auscultation is a skill that requires considerable practice and understanding of the respiratory system so that you can differentiate normal respiratory sounds from abnormal and adventitious sounds (e.g. wheezes and crackles), and accurately diagnose patients (Sarkar et al. 2015).

The more lung sounds you listen to, the easier it will be to identify an abnormality and report it to a member of the medical team.

It is important to remember that auscultation is just one component of respiratory assessment; ensure you also monitor the rise and fall of the patient’s chest and identify any potential difficulties they may be experiencing (shallow breathing, pain, use of accessory muscles, reduced ability to follow instructions, sputum production, asymmetry of the chest etc.)

Chest auscultation should be contextualised to a patient’s medical history and form one component of a holistic assessment (Proctor & Rickards 2020).

Delivery
Title
A Basic Guide to Chest Auscultation
Speciality Classification
Interest Areas / Topics Covered
Respiratory Medicine
Location
Provider Type
Education Provider
Duration
4 minutes
Start Date
31-May-2020
End Date
31-May-2023
CPD Points
4 minutes of CPD
Price
Free
Location
Online
Price:
Free
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