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Invaluable as is auscultation in the study of disorders of the heart, it should not supplant or take priority over other means of physical investigations. The introduction of the stethoscope by Laennec was so epoch making, and aroused such enthusiasm, that medical practitioners came to rely on auscultation wellnigh to the exclusion of palpation, percussion and minute inquiry into the history and symptoms, on which previously physicians had been compelled to depend.
The influence of such teachings and of such an example has persisted even to this day, as is shown by the weight that life insurance companies and Army medical officers are wont to attach to the discovery of a cardiac murmur and to irregularities and an unwonted rate of the pulse. So prevalent is the belief that a murmur means a functionally damaged heart that most physicians at once attach an unfavorable prognosis to the presence of a
BABCOCK RH. PROGNOSIS IN CARDIAC AFFECTIONSAS RELATED TO THE DISCOVERY OF MURMURS AND TO ARRHYTHMIA. JAMA. 1918;70(6):355–357. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.02600060001001