Cardiac Auscultation in Sports Medicine: Strategies to Improve Clinical Care

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Cardiac auscultation is an important part of the preparticipation physical examination of athletes. Sudden death remains a rare but tragic event among athletes. The most common cause of sudden death among young athletes in the United States continues to be hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which may or may not present with a typical heart murmur. Many clinicians do not possess sufficient proficiency in recognizing abnormal heart murmurs. New insights in the field of auditory learning suggest that cardiac auscultation is more of a technical skill than an intellectual one. Intensive repetition of abnormal heart murmurs has been shown to improve proficiency in cardiac auscultation markedly. Sample audio files of two important murmurs, i.e., an innocent murmur and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, are provided online with this review.

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