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Logo of thijTexas Heart Institute JournalSee also Cardiovascular Diseases Journal in PMCSubscribeSubmissionsTHI Journal Website
Tex Heart Inst J. 2010; 37(2): 252–253.
PMCID: PMC2851439

Review of Clinical Heart Disease. Clinical Auscultation and Physical Examination of the Cardiovascular System

Five Finger Approach
Reviewed by Robert J. Hall, MD

Clinical Heart Disease. Clinical Auscultation and Physical Examination of the Cardiovascular System: Five Finger Approach

Includes audio DVD Clinical Heart Disease: Recordings of Heart Sounds from Actual Patients (2,788 heart sounds); video DVD Introduction to Clinical Auscultation (Dr. Harvey demonstrates the auscultation techniques described in the book); and video DVD America's Contribution to the Treatment of Heart Disease in the Twentieth Century (by David and Anne Canfield).

W. Proctor Harvey, MD, with Julius Bedynek, MD, & David Canfield. 640 pages, 654 figures. Fairfield (NJ): Laennec Publishing, Inc.; 2009. US $185. ISBN: 978-1-886128-10-1. Available from: Laennec Publishing, 253 Passaic Ave., Fairfield, NJ 07004, USA.

Fields of Medicine: Adult and pediatric cardiology, internal medicine.

Format: Hardcover book. Trim size: 7 × 9 inches. Includes 3 DVDs.

Recommended Readership: Clinicians old and young, students, and house officers.

Purpose: The purpose of this book and DVD set is to enable the clinician or student to gain confidence and accuracy in the examination of the heart by listening to a large number of patients with one-on-one guidance by Dr. Harvey.

Content: The easily read text is extensively illustrated with clinical observations, phonocardiograms, and electrocardiograms from the patients whose heart sounds and murmurs are heard on the accompanying DVD. Of special merit are the descriptions and interpretations of the findings by Dr. Harvey in his soft, readily recognizable voice, guiding the listener through each detail of the physical examination. Dr. Harvey's presentation on the DVD, patient after patient, is reminiscent of his teaching conferences over the years. It is a wonderful memorial to this great physician and teacher.

This book, together with the audio and video DVDs, should be part of the library of any clinician who examines the hearts of adults or children, as well as any physician or student who has ever attended a “Proctor Harvey” conference, marveled at his teaching acumen, and sought to emulate his technique. To any clinician who has not had the opportunity to attend one of these teaching conferences, this set of text and DVDs presents a not-to-be-missed occasion to experience a learning session with Dr. Harvey, who unquestionably was the “Laennec” of the 20th century. The many students whom Proctor Harvey has taught, and this opportunity to teach still more, are his legacy.

Strengths: The combination of text and audio provides a unique learning experience. The DVDs contain over 7 GB of data, divided into 402 tracks, many with the heart sounds and murmurs of multiple patients. The text and audio can be used either for thorough and systematic study or for intermittent reading and listening, when information on a particular malady is sought. The text refers throughout to the applicable track on the DVD. Currently, few medical students and even fewer residents are taught the art and science of examination of the heart. The text and DVD fill this void, providing the opportunity to study at the foot of a master teacher.

Weaknesses: Maximal appreciation of the auscultatory findings recorded on the DVD is best served by using high-quality headphones; the use of standard audio speakers produces a less-than-satisfactory rendition of the heart sounds and murmurs. It is possible, however, to connect headphones to output jacks on most good home stereo systems, or to transmit the audio to headphones via a wireless connection.

Overall Grade: ****


Grading Key ***** = outstanding; **** = excellent; *** = good; ** = fair; *= poor

Articles from Texas Heart Institute Journal are provided here courtesy of Texas Heart Institute