The auscultation and interpretation of cardiac sounds is infrequently utilised in the pre-hospital care setting, however, it can be of use to clinicians and is certainly utilised by doctors and cardiologists regularly. Some ambulance services do utilise this skill, and it is for this reason that I have provided a basic introduction to cardiac auscultation for paramedics.
In the normal, healthy adult, heart sounds are created by the sound of the valves of the heart closing. Cardiac valves do not make any sounds when they open. As a paramedic, or clinician, it is paramount at this stage to have a thorough grasp of both the anatomy of the heart and the physiology of its pumping abilities through the cardiac cycle in order to understand the heart sounds heard in the normal or abnormal patient. Cardiac Auscultation is considered an advanced medical skill that requires training and experience to maintain (which is why it is seldome used in pre-hospital care). Furthermore, many abnormalities are either faint or very subtle, making them almost impossible to recognise or accurately interpret in the pre-hospital care setting (which has numerous outside noises).