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The Cardiovascular History and Physical Examination 

The Cardiovascular History and Physical Examination
Chapter:
The Cardiovascular History and Physical Examination
Author(s):

Roger Hall

and Iain Simpson

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199566990.003.001
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date: 22 August 2019

A cardiovascular history and examination are fundamental to accurate diagnosis and the subsequent delivery of appropriate care for an individual patient. Time spent on a thorough history and examination is rarely wasted and goes beyond the gathering of basic clinical information as it is also an opportunity to put the patient at ease and build confidence in the physician’s ability to provide a holistic and confidential approach to their care. This chapter covers the basics of history taking and physical examination of the cardiology patient but then takes it to a higher level by trying to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of individual signs in clinical examination and to put them into the context of common clinical scenarios. In an ideal world there would always be time for a full clinical history and examination, but clinical urgency may dictate that this is impossible or indeed, when time critical treatment needs to be delivered, it may be inappropriate. This chapter provides an insight into delivering a tailored approach in certain, common clinical situations. Skills in clinical history and examination evolve with time and experience and this chapter provides a structured approach to clinical cardiovascular history and examination which should be seen as a framework on which to build clinical experience. It also provides a hierarchical approach to the importance of certain symptoms and signs in a variety of cardiovascular conditions. Clinical history and examination has changed with modern advances in cardiology and the development of sophisticated imaging techniques. Eponymous signs beloved of the ‘Old Masters of Examination’ are now of historical interest but are listed in ...

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