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October 21, 1968

The Case of the "Beeping" Heart

Author Affiliations

Browns Mills, NJ

JAMA. 1968;206(4):896. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150040108033

To the Editor:—  The extracardiac origin of chest sounds synchronous with heart beat is well established. Most of the reported cases have had supradiaphragmatic pathologic conditions, ie, mediastinal emphysema, pneumothorax, lung interstitial emphysema, pneumopericardium, air embolism, and hiatus hernia.1 Recently we examined a patient with an unusual chest sound, which was easily heard several feet away from the patient, in whom the gas bubble in splenic flexure seemed to be the cause.

Report of a Case:—  The patient was 10 years old, and she had been referred because of a murmur discovered four months previously during the course of an apparently insignificant gastrointestinal tract illness. However, for approximately nine months the patient had been aware of a phenomenon which she described quite simply: "I beep." The parents also had noted the sound and described it as "like a radio signal." It could be heard from a distance, occurred at