Auscultation is the act of listening for sounds within the body.. In some cases, it may take no more than the examiner's ear near the patient, to recognize loud abnormalities of breathing, such as wheezing, and various forms of cough. The stethoscope, invented in 1816 by Rene Laennec, is still a basic tool, but even basic manual stethoscopes have undergone mechanical changes such as continual improvement in the part that touches the patient, and the part that carries the sound to the examiner.
The results of sounds heard on auscultation may suggest a need for additional information with more technical devices. In some cases, that may simply be a stethoscope with electronic amplification, or the combination of electronically amplified sounds with ultrasonography. Auscultation that gives sounds suggestive of fluid inside body cavity often calls for medical imaging using X-rays or ultrasonography. Sometimes, the most valuable information combines multiple sensors, such as auscultation or ultrasonography of the heart, synchronized with electrocardiographic information on heart electrical activity.
Auscultation through fabric
The accuracy of auscultation through fabric is not known.
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