auscultationˌɔ skəlˈteɪ ʃən
listening to sounds within the body (usually with a stethoscope)
Diagnosis of disorders by listening to the sounds of the internal organs, usually using a stethoscope.
Auscultation is the term for listening to the internal sounds of the body, usually using a stethoscope. Auscultation is performed for the purposes of examining the circulatory system and respiratory system, as well as the gastrointestinal system. The term was introduced by René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laënnec. The act of listening to body sounds for diagnostic purposes has its origin further back in history, possibly as early as Ancient Egypt. Laënnec's contributions were refining the procedure, linking sounds with specific pathological changes in the chest, and inventing a suitable instrument in the process. Originally, there was a distinction between immediate auscultation and mediate auscultation. Auscultation is a skill that requires substantial clinical experience, a fine stethoscope and good listening skills. Doctors listen to three main organs and organ systems during auscultation: the heart, the lungs, and the gastrointestinal system. When auscultating the heart, doctors listen for abnormal sounds including heart murmurs, gallops, and other extra sounds coinciding with heartbeats. Heart rate is also noted. When listening to lungs, breath sounds such as wheezes, crepitations and crackles are identified. The gastrointestinal system is auscultated to note the presence of bowel sounds.
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