How to make great SensiCardiac recordings

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Users often ask us what they could do to get the best results from SensiCardiac. Here are a few tips from our experience:

  • If you can’t hear the heart sound, SensiCardiac can’t either.

Most users violate this rule! Make sure the S1/S2 heart sounds are clearly audible before you start recording.  This is sometimes challenging at the aortic position. Ask the patient to do three to five squats to make the heart work a little bit harder. This may help to hear the heart more clearly.

  • Get the heart as close as possible to the chest wall.

If the patient is in the supine position there’s always the possibility of creating a cavity between the heart and the chest wall. Sounds from within the body, especially the lungs, can resonate within these cavities, creating unwanted noise.

  • Avoid breathing sounds, at all cost.

Ask the patient to hold his/her breath for the duration of the recording.

  • Body tissue is a heart sound killer.

If the patient does have excessive body tissue around the chest/breast and the heart sounds are not audible, don’t use SensiCardiac, or limit the recordings to the positions where the heart sounds are audible.

Remember, each person is unique. The heart orientation and chest structure do vary a bit. Move the stethoscope around to where you hear the heart sound the best for the specific patient.

Tips for each auscultation location:

  • Aortic: This is the most challenging auscultation position due to lung sounds, even for trained cardiologists. Remember the heart is on the left side of the patient!
    • Let the patient sit in an upright position and lean a bit forward, to the right.
    • Ask the patient to exhale and hold his/her breath.
    • Make sure the stethoscope is placed at a rib opening and not on the sternum.
    • Orientate the stethoscope in such a way that it points to the left side of the patient, towards the heart.
    • If you still can't hear the heart sound clearly, ask the patient to perform a few squats.
  • Pulmonary: The S1/S2 sound pulses are usually the clearest in this position.
    • The patient may be in the supine position for this recording.
    • Ask the patient to hold his/her breath, preferably inhaled.
  • Tricuspid: This could be a challenging position for patients with excessive body tissue.
    • Sitting and leaning a bit forward is the best position to get the heart closer to the chest wall.
    • Try to tilt the stethoscope towards the heart (breast).
  • Apex / Mitral: A challenging position to get the heart close to the chest wall, but vital to detect mitral and heart failure defects.
    • The patient must be in the supine position, on in his/her left side.
    • Try to tilt the stethoscope towards the heart, right.
    • Move the stethoscope around the apex to the position where you here the sound the best. 

It takes time to get used to the stethoscope. So practice!

For more information on the optimal use of SensiCardiac, please follow this link

Also see these auscultation techniques.  

 

    

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