Objective: The aim of this study is to determine the level of clinical auscultation skills in pediatric residents at Duke University Medical Center.
Methods: Forty-seven residents from pediatrics and joint medicine/pediatrics training programs at Duke University Medical Center were enrolled in this study. They were asked to examine the cardiovascular patient simulator, Harvey, and report their findings. Five common conditions seen in the pediatric population were presented: ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect, pulmonary valve stenosis, combined aortic valve stenosis and insufficiency, and innocent systolic ejection murmur. The responses were scored by the number of features and diagnoses accurately reported. Five pediatric cardiologists and cardiologists in training were also asked to participate in a manner similar to the trainees.
Results: The mean score of features identified for the resident group was 11.4 +/- 2.6 of a possible 19. The diagnostic accuracy was 33%. There was no significant difference between residents by year of training or by type of residency program, although there was a trend toward improved performance with more training. The difference in performance between the pediatric cardiology group and the residents group was striking. The condition that was most frequently misdiagnosed was the innocent systolic ejection murmur.
Conclusions: The clinical auscultation skills of pediatric residents in this study were suboptimal. There was a trend toward improvement as training progressed, although not statistically significant. These skills are likely to improve further with increased exposure to patients with cardiovascular disease especially in the ambulatory care setting.