Struggling With Murmurs?

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    Becoming at interpreting heart murmurs can seem overwhelming at first. Having the right tools and knowing how to use them is important. Hopefully, this video will help you enhance your skills.

    Struggling With Murmurs?

    At first studying and becoming competent at interpreting murmurs can seem daunting. However, it all starts with knowing which parts of the stethoscope to use for which types of sounds and also where on the chest to listen for different types of heart sounds.


    While in practice, you may, and probably should, resort to listening all over the chest with both sides of your stethoscope, a nursing exam may want more specifics. It may ask whether the diaphragm or the bell is better for high pitched noises or where on the chest one might hear the aortic valve best.


    Don't get overwhelmed by these details! As I went through nursing school, I compiled a number of mnemonic devices and memory tricks to help me memorize the parts of the stethoscope, which sounds the diaphragm and bell are best at detecting, and where on the heart to auscultate specific valves. I want to share these study hacks with you to help you remember this information for an exam and also for your nursing practice.


    If you found this video helpful, check out my YouTube channel, "Nursing Study Hacks," for more content!

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    4 Comments

  3. by   SunBear53
    A little bit disconcerting that an RN with four years experience including ICU doesn't appear to understand the basic anatomy of her stethoscope.

    The flat side is the diaphragm, the smaller curved side is the bell. She had it backwards. (see 2:19 on the video)
  4. by   DovMarcus
    when I was in nursing school I discovered that I have a murmur. turned out that I have a bicuspid aortic valve and have been going to cardiologist ever since. pretty wild, huh? sort of on topic but thought i'd let you know, sometimes what we do is relevant to ourselves
  5. by   smf0903
    Quote from SunBear53
    A little bit disconcerting that an RN with four years experience including ICU doesn't appear to understand the basic anatomy of her stethoscope.

    The flat side is the diaphragm, the smaller curved side is the bell. She had it backwards. (see 2:19 on the video)
    For a fleeting moment I thought "OMG I've been calling the bell and diaphragm wrong all this time!"

    But thank you for the video
  6. by   prmenrs
    I always had a problem w/murmurs. They did NOT cover auscultating murmurs (or much of anything else, x BPs) back in 1966. After a while working in NICU, I divided murmurs into 2 categories: "whoosh-whoosh" and "extra sound". Don't forget, HRs in babies run 120 or higher, so not a lot of time for discernment. I had to close my eyes and focus for a minute or 2. Heart defects were usually PDAs, ASDs or VSDs. Sometimes co-arcs. Perhaps not the same pathology as in adults? Also, the louder the murmur, the smaller the defect.

    I'd tell the Resident; they'd order an ECHO, and get a Dx.

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