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A Piece of My Mind
October 4, 2016

The Quick Physical Exam

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA. 2016;316(13):1363-1364. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8182

The intern presented a case of an elderly woman admitted for evaluation of chest pain. Serial ECGs and troponin levels were normal, and the diagnosis remained obscure. I began my cardiopulmonary examination by partially lowering her hospital gown. It immediately became apparent that she had a dermatomal vesicular rash of herpes zoster. The resident, intern, and student all sheepishly admitted they had auscultated the patient’s heart through her hospital gown. They had performed the quick physical exam.