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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