|Description:||At this point in her physical examination, a physician was using a stethoscope to listen to sounds emanating from within the chest cavity of a female patient. The sound-sensitive end of the device was being applied to the patient’s left upper posterior chest at this point in her exam. |
The stethoscope enables the physician to hear sounds within a patient’s body, in this case, her chest including breath sounds produced as air enters and exits the lungs, and heart, or cardiac sounds produced as the heart beats, forcing blood through the heart and blood vessels. The trained ear of the healthcare professional enables him to distinguish between what one would hear under normal circumstances, and what might be heard under abnormal circumstances, possibly involving pathologic processes including heart valve abnormalities, abnormal heart rhythms, i.e., arrhythmias, and excessive fluid within the lungs, as might be found in the case of pneumonia, or bronchitis.