The Heart of Good Medicine
Date: February 1, 2013
On October 10, 2012, the Class of 2016 at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine gathered to receive a welcome gift: an engraved stethoscope. The ceremony sets the tone for the rest of their experiences at Hopkins.
I have always bemoaned the dying practice of teaching medical students about the importance and value of cardiac auscultation in the physical examination of their patients. Nowadays, in the evaluation of cardiac patients, stethoscopes are largely being replaced by echocardiographic machines. Students and young physicians can no longer differentiate a mid-diastolic murmur of mitral stenosis from an early diastolic murmur of aortic regurgitation, or an opening snap in mitral stenosis from a diastolic knock in constrictive pericarditis.
I am so glad to see that Hopkins, in contrast with [other medical schools], still emphasizes the pertinence of cardiac auscultation in the clinical practice of medicine. This is another example of what makes Hopkins one of the best medical schools in the United States, if not the best.
Tsung O. Cheng, MD
(Fellow in Medicine 1957–59, JHU)
Professor of Medicine
George Washington University