What is the sensitivity and specificity of auscultation for detecting cardiac problems among adults?

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Evidence-Based Answer

We do not know how well family physicians differentiate murmurs on auscultation. Cardiac auscultation by emergency room physicians can distinguish benign from pathologic systolic murmurs with a sensitivity of 82% and specificity of 69%. In evaluating patients for heart failure, the detection of an S3 has sensitivity of 50% by cardiology attendings, but poor interobserver agreement by less experienced physicians (SOR: B, diagnostic cohort studies with heterogeneous results).

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