500 repetitions of 4 cardiac murmurs improved auscultatory proficiency of medical students

According to a 2004 study in Chest, the ability of medical students to recognize heart murmurs is poor (20%), and does not improve with subsequent years of training.

Five hundred repetitions of four basic cardiac murmurs significantly improved auscultatory proficiency in recognizing basic cardiac murmurs by medical students. These results suggest that cardiac auscultation is, in part, a technical skill.

Related resources

The Heart Sounds Tutorial by Blaufuss.org is a fancy flash-based simulator with animations. The McGill University Virtual Stethoscope is another useful website. Click here for more web-based teaching resources for hearts sounds from UCLA and breath sounds from Loyola University.

Mastering cardiac murmurs: the power of repetition. Barrett MJ, Lacey CS, Sekara AE, Linden EA, Gracely EJ. Chest. 2004 Aug;126(2):470-5.
Image source: Modern stethoscope. Wikipedia, public domain.

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