Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA.
Cardiac auscultation is a fundamental yet exceedingly difficult-to-master clinical skill. Acquisition of auscultatory skills has declined steadily over the last several decades, a phenomenon attributed to several factors, including less patient contact in the hospital, availability of high-tech gadgetry (echocardiogram with Doppler, cardiac magnetic resonance, cardiac computed tomography), and scarcity of competent clinical instruction. Strategies to teach this important diagnostic modality using the time-honored methods of repetition and practice include audio recordings, multimedia CD-ROMs, books used in tandem with these resources, and mannequins. Nothing, however, can replace patient contact—the thrill of listening to an actual person and making a clinical diagnosis—or the gratification of teaching this skill to younger physicians.
Seyal MS. Auscultation. JAMA. 2007;297(2):215-220. doi:10.1001/jama.297.2.217