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Sept 7, 1963


JAMA. 1963;185(10):779-780. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060100059021

Perhaps more than any other accouterments, the stethoscope and sphygmomanometer have come to symbolize the physician. Medical students eagerly await indoctrination in the Korotkoff technique of auscultatory estimation of blood pressure, and laymen regard this maneuver as a mystic manifestation of the physician's skills. It is particularly ironic, therefore, that arterial sounds have been the object of but few concerted studies and that the information which may be obtained from these sounds is generally neglected. Rodbard1 has recently noted that analysis of arterial sounds may be used for estimation of the severity of dyspnea, the presence of arterial narrowing, and as an indication of the degree of aortic insufficiency or stenosis. Familiarity with the components of arterial sounds in a healthy individual must precede utilization of these sounds in diagnosis of abnormal states. During decompression of the sphygmomanometer cuff, an opening tap is audible as the rising pulse exceeds