MedSchool: Ace Your OSCEsThe Medical Company
GET - On the App Store
Deteriorating Patient
Deteriorating Patient

Cardiac Auscultation



  • Listen to each of the cardiac areas for normal / pathologic heart sounds, a pericardial rub and for the presence of a murmur.

Heart Sounds

    • Heart Sounds

    • Normal

    • First heart sound (S1) - indicates closure of the mitral and tricuspid valves (a loud S1 suggests MS; a soft S1 suggests MR)
    • Second heart sound (S2) - indicates closure of the aortic (A2) and pulmonary (P2) valves (a loud P2 suggests pulmonary hypertension; a soft A2 suggests severe AS / AR)
    • Abnormal

    • Third heart sound (S3) - a pathological finding associated with rapid ventricular filling (left ventricular failure, severe MR / AR, constrictive pericarditis)
    • Fourth heart sound (S4) - a pathological finding associated with turbulence during atrial systole (hypertension, AS, PS, MR, HOCM, MI)

Pericardial Rub

  • A pericardial rub is a sign of pericarditis. 
    • How to Assess

    • Ask the patient to lean forward and hold their breath in full expiration. Listen for a superficial, scratching sound present in mid-systole, mid-diastole and late diastole. 


    • Interpretation of Cardiac Murmurs

    • Systolic

    • Early systolic - ventricular septal defect, mitral regurgitation, tricuspid regurgitation
    • Ejection systolic - aortic or pulmonary stenosis
    • Late systolic - mitral valve prolapse
    • Pansystolic - tricuspid or mitral regurgitation
    • Diastolic

    • Early diastolic - aortic or pulmonary regurgitation
    • Mid-diastolic - mitral stenosis
    • Late diastolic / presystolic - tricuspid stenosis
    • Continuous

    • Patent ductus arteriosus, AV fistula, ruptured sinus of Valsalva aneurysm, aortopulmonary window
Want more info like this?
  • Your electronic clinical medicine handbook
  • Guides to help pass your exams
  • Tools every medical student needs
  • Quick diagrams to have the answers, fast
  • Quizzes to test your knowledge
Sign Up Now