By simply listening to the heart using a stethoscope reveals a great deal of information about your health.  With all the high-tech medical devices that have been developed over the past 50 years, it’s amazing that this simple tool remains one of the most be so helpful devices at a physician’s disposal.

During a routine exam, your doctor will listen for the sounds of your heart and lungs to detect any abnormalities. A host of medical problems can be detected or ruled out as he or she listens to the heart and lung sounds. Finally, the stethoscope is necessary to get an accurate blood pressure reading.

Respiratory obstruction or congestion can be detected by listening to different areas of your lungs as you breathe.  Conditions like asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia will cause characteristic changes to the breath sounds doctors are familiar with.  In just a few minutes, the stethoscope can alert your doctor to the need for treatment or further testing.  For patients with chronic conditions, the stethoscope provides a simply and fast way for a doctor to monitor their progress.

When listening to the heart, each valve has a characteristic sound, which should be heard in a particular sequence.  When gurgles and hisses are heard, it can be a sign of valve disease. A hiss may be caused by Stenosis, the partial blockage of a heart valves, Gurgling may be the result of a leaky valve, which allows blood to flow back into the chamber.  Leakage from a heart valve is called regurgitation. 




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