Prehospital cardiac auscultation: friend or foe?

A review of the literature was carried out seeking research into paramedic cardiac auscultation skills. No articles were found which addressed the issue of the accuracy of paramedic cardiac auscultation and a number of potential causes for poor quality auscultation in a prehospital environment were discussed. Furthermore, due to the lack of evidence for or against the effectiveness of paramedic cardiac auscultation, two main areas in which cardiac auscultation is strongly advocated in prehospital care were discussed and the importance of this area of clinical practice was highlighted. The lack of research in this area cannot be equated to a lack of ability in this area and further research is needed to influence professional practice and training.

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