The cardiac examination, also known as precordial exam, is performed as part of a physical examination, or when a patient presents with chest pain suggestive of a cardiovascular pathology. It would typically be modified depending on the indication and integrated with other examinations especially the respiratory system.
Cardiovascular examination is a central tool for assessing the cardiovascular system. Examination includes assessment of vital signs and jugular venous pulse, chest inspection and palpation, and most importantly, auscultation of the heart.
Complete examination of all systems is essential to detect peripheral and systemic effects of cardiac disorders that might affect the heart.
Examination includes the following;
- Vital sign measurement
- Pulse palpation and auscultation
- Vein observation
- Chest inspection, and palpation
- Cardiac percussion, palpation, and auscultation
- Lung examination, including percussion, palpation, and auscultation
- Extremity and abdomen examination
The evaluation of the cardiovascular system focuses on the heart, but should also include an assessment for disease in the arterial system throughout the body. Atherosclerosis, the most common cardiovascular ailment in the western world, is a systemic disease.
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