Is the stethoscope becoming a useless prop of doctorhood? You betcha:

As physicians rely on more accurate and expensive tests of cardiac function, including echocardiography, the art of listening to the heart has fallen on hard times. In recent years, a spate of studies has shown that as few as 20 percent of new doctors and 40 percent of practicing primary-care doctors can discern the difference between a healthy and a sick heart just by listening to the chorus of whooshes, lub-dubs, gallops and rubs that compose the distinctive music of the human heart.

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  • Anonymous

    this is nonsense…granted I wouldn’t be able to hear a 1/6 murmur, but you can hear a loud heart murmur, wheezing, rales…all of which can help you decide whether the patient needs testing: cxr, cardiology consult, ct scan chest, er visit, pulmonary consult…I think of it as an additional tool in my amamentarium to protect myself; any abnormal finding leads to more tests and referrals…

    in addition, you don’t want to be in the position of not checking and listening and the patient comes back or calls you back and says another doctor found something serious by listening.

    Not to mention i have to check the BP with this piece of junk…

  • Anonymous

    absolutely accurate

  • Anonymous

    one post is criticizing MRI’s as expensive and inconclusive medicine….and three posts later, we’re announcing the end of the stethoscope to be replaced by an echocardiogram…

  • Anonymous

    good point. is auscultation even taught to medical students?

  • Anonymous

    yeah, they do teach cardiac auscultation; unfortunately they don’t teach about how to protect yourself from patients…which is arguably more important. I never understood defensive medicine until I got out of residency…can you believe that…3 years of residency. i used to wonder why the attending would call all those consults…cardiology, pulmonology, nephrology, i.d. I thought the attending was real stupid or didn’t know how to manage the problem. And I would get pissed off because I wanted to manage the problem on my own. Now I know that the attendings were really protecting all of us. And now I do it and have to tell the residents about liability…they still don’t know!

  • Anonymous

    Residents often get pissed at me when I discuss defensive medicine, they’ll get it eventually. I sold my Litttman on EBAY 3 years ago.

  • Anonymous

    I may have bought your Littman. I always lose the useless piece of crap but I still have a cheap one around to look the part of the doctor.

  • Anonymous

    None of you docs want to carry one but you are always asking us nurses to lend you ours!!Grow up and carry your own I dont need your germs !.