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Doc APProvED: Can You Hear Me Now? Ausculation Apps for Busy EPs

Mohseni, Alex MD

Emergency Medicine News: July 2014 - Volume 36 - Issue 7 - p 6
doi: 10.1097/
Doc APProvED

Dr. Mohseni is an emergency physician in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and the counsel to the president for innovation and technology of Emergency Medicine Associates. He is the editor of his own blog, Follow him @amohseni, and read his past columns at

I'm always looking for apps that can make us better diagnosticians, and good auscultation of heart and lung sounds is something that sometimes seems forgotten in today's rushed health care visits.

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Patients sense that there is something almost magical about the stethoscope and what we can decipher by pressing it against their chests. In fact, auscultation can be almost magical, revealing diagnostic clues to rare or dangerous conditions that would otherwise be easily missed. Accurate auscultation can be an amazing skill, whether it's pneumomediastinum or a new aortic regurgitation murmur signaling the possibility of acute aortic dissection.

But, as with everything in medicine, you have to know what you're looking for, and two apps can help you hone your auscultation skills: Heart Sounds & Murmurs for Android (free) and Heart and Lung Sounds: Medical Reference Tool for iOS ($2.99). Each has great audio clips of all the different cardiac murmurs and sounds with detailed explanations and some graphics. The iOS app excels in its ability to play the audio clips continuously so you can really focus for an extended period to learn the sound. It has nice diagrams and even a quiz section. You should really use quality headphones with good bass to get the most out of either app. Many heart sounds are very low-pitched, and won't be heard well with standard earbuds.

Both apps are simple to use and well designed, and come highly recommended.

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