Auscultation is listening to the sounds of the body during a physical examination.
During a physical examination, a health care provider studies your body to determine if you do or do not have a physical problem. A physical examinat...
Auscultation is usually done using a tool called a stethoscope. Health care providers routinely listen to a person's lungs, heart, and intestines to evaluate these things about the sounds:
Providers also use auscultation to listen to the heart sounds of unborn infants. This can be done with a stethoscope or with sound waves (called Doppler ultrasound).
Auscultation can also be used to hear pulses in the arms and legs.
Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW. Examination techniques and equipment. In: Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW, eds. Seidel's Guide to Physical Examination. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2015:chap 3.
Swartz MH. The physical examination. In: Swartz MH, ed. Textbook of Physical Diagnosis: History and Examination. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 4.
Auscultation - illustration
Auscultation is a method used to listen to the sounds of the body during a physical examination by using a stethoscope. A patient's lungs, heart, and intestines are the most common organs heard during auscultation.
Review Date: 5/14/2017
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.