Accuracy of cardiac auscultation in the era of Doppler-echocardiography: a comparison between cardiologists and internists

Int J Cardiol. 2010 Feb 4;138(3):308-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2008.06.066. Epub 2008 Aug 30.


To investigate the present accuracy of cardiac auscultation, we asked a group of senior cardiologists and internists to auscultate respectively 72 and 70 selected patients and to give a diagnosis of the type of lesions heard and their degree of severity, using transthoracic Doppler-echocardiography as the standard reference. The percentage of correctly identified auscultations by cardiologists and by internists, particularly for common valvular lesions, such as aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation, was respectively 76.1 vs 64.9% (P=0.0787) for all types of lesions taken together, 57.1 vs 48%.0 (P=0.5057) for mild, 82.4 vs 76.0% (P= 0.3335) for moderate-severe and 81.8 vs 27.3% (P=0.0300) for lesions without degree of severity, which included cases of atrial septal defect (ASD) and of hypertrophic cardiomyopathiy (HCM). Our findings show that in the Doppler-echocardiographic era overall cardiac auscultatory proficiency for common valvular lesions is similar in cardiologists and internists. Cardiologists perform better than internists only when auscultating more rare cadiac lesions, such as cases of ASD or HCM.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Letter
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiology / standards*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Female
  • Heart Auscultation / standards*
  • Heart Valve Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Heart Valve Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / standards*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results