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The sounds that are produced during the cardiac cycle offer important, and often diagnostic, information about a patient's cardiac status. Familiarity with the normal heart sounds provides the necessary foundation for clinical assessments and for detection of abnormal or extra sounds when they occur. This program explains physiologic principles of sound production within the heart and demonstrates the acoustic characteristics of normal and abnormal heart sounds to assist you in clinical auscultation of the heart.

  • Agenda

  • Read the Overview and Course Objectives.
  • Study the Terminology.
  • Read the course material.
  • Complete the Learning Activity.
  • Complete the Post Test with a score of 80% or more.

    The material is organized around the following categories:

  • Introduction -- Normal Heart Sounds
  • Auscultatory Landmarks
  • Using The Stethoscope
  • The Column Method Of Recording
  • Auscultation
  • S1
  • S2
  • The Third and Fourth Heart Sounds
  • Systolic Ejection Sounds
  • Diastolic Opening Snaps
  • Documentation
  • Conclusion

    The purpose of this program is to provide nurses an understanding of how heart sounds are produced, and how to differentiate normal and abnormal sounds upon auscultation.

    After completing this course, the learner should be able to:

  • Review the phases of the normal cardiac cycle and relate the timing and point of maximum intensity of heart sounds to the events of systole and diastole.
  • Identify the anatomic structures used as landmarks during auscultation of heart sounds and perform the sequential steps of a heart assessment.
  • Describe the intensity, location, pitch, quality, and timing of normal heart sounds.
  • Identify pathologic conditions associated with accentuation or diminution of heart sounds, and recognize normal splitting of normal heart sounds.
  • Describe patient positioning maneuvers which accentuate and assist in differentiating abnormal heart sounds.
  • Differentiate normal from abnormal heart sounds.

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