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Cardiovascular examination

02 April 2020
Volume 12 · Issue 4


The clinical examination is an important part of any patient consultation. After the primary survey and taking the patient history, a more in-depth examination is sometimes required to aid making a working diagnosis and help negate other differential diagnoses. The extent of this depends on the stability of the patient and may not be possible in time-critical circumstances. However, clinical examination is an increasing part of paramedic practice owing to the continued expansion of the scope of the paramedic role in both urgent and emergency care. Education on clinical examination concerning each of the main body systems is now an integral part of undergraduate paramedic curricula.

This clinical examination series provides a step-by-step overview for each of the main body systems. Continuing professional development (CPD) is an essential requirement for all clinicians to maintain and demonstrate that they are staying up to date and advancing in their roles.

This series gives an overview of each type of examination to support students, newly qualified paramedics and paramedics wishing to use these articles as a CPD development activity and an aide-memoire for clinical practice. This article, which explores the cardiovascular system, gives an overview of initial examination considerations, including first impressions.

The articles in this series, which can be torn out for use in practice, are intended to support clinician development and to assist in the overall assessment of patient presentations. The information should be used to aid consideration of differential diagnoses in situations where life-threatening conditions have been ruled out.

The extent and explanation of each examination will not be to the depth of those provided in core literature texts, so further reading and consolidation are advised to support understanding supplemental to these articles. Key questions are included for reader consideration and to direct further study.

Most examinations are taught in a rigid format. However, in clinical practice, practitioners need to be flexible and adapt their approach depending on the presenting condition and circumstances. While there is no single set way to carry out each of these examinations, a good structure will reduce omissions and errors, and support the gathering of information to inform patient care.

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