Figure 233

Phonocardiograms from normal and abnormal hearts.

elimination. That is, he or she moves the stethoscope from one area to another, noting the loudness of the sounds in different areas and gradually picking out the sound components from each valve.

The areas for listening to the different heart sounds are not directly over the valves themselves. The aortic area is upward along the aorta because of sound transmission up the aorta, and the pulmonic area is upward along the pulmonary artery. The tricuspid area is over the right ventricle, and the mitral area is over the apex of the left ventricle, which is the portion of the heart nearest the surface of the chest; the heart is rotated so that the remainder of the left ventricle lies more posteriorly.


If a microphone specially designed to detect low-frequency sound is placed on the chest, the heart sounds can be amplified and recorded by a high-speed recording apparatus. The recording is called a phonocardio-gram, and the heart sounds appear as waves, as shown schematically in Figure 23-3. Recording A is an example of normal heart sounds, showing the vibrations of the first, second, and third heart sounds and even the very weak atrial sound. Note specifically that the third and atrial heart sounds are each a very low rumble. The third heart sound can be recorded in only one third to one half of all people, and the atrial heart sound can be recorded in perhaps one fourth of all people.

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

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