How to auscultate for heart sounds in adults

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale and key points
This article aims to improve nurses’ knowledge and understanding of the procedure for auscultating heart sounds in adults, as part of a cardiovascular examination. It focuses on auscultating normal heart sounds; it is beyond the scope of this article to discuss the pathophysiology of abnormal findings.

A stethoscope is used to auscultate for heart sounds. The diaphragm of the stethoscope is used to identify high-pitched sounds, while the bell is used to identify low-pitched sounds.

There are two normal heart sounds that should be elicited in auscultation: S1 (lub) and S2 (dub).

The practitioner should listen over each of the four main heart valve areas: the aortic, pulmonary, tricuspid and mitral valve areas. They should also listen for any additional sounds such as clicks, and heart murmurs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-43
Number of pages3
JournalNursing Standard
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2017


  • auscultation
  • cardiac assessment
  • cardiovascular examination
  • clinical skills


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