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the diagnostic technique in medicine of listening to the various internal sounds made by the body, usually with the aid of a stethoscope
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



one of the basic methods of examining internal organs by listening to the sound phenomena produced in them. Listening to the heart was first introduced in the second century A.D. by the Greek physician Aretes. The French doctor R. Laënnec (1819) developed the modern method of auscultation by employing for this purpose a “medical tube,” or stethoscope. More frequently a phonen-doscope is used for auscultation. This instrument is a hollow capsule with a sound-transmitting diaphragm that is placed against the body of a patient; rubber tubes connect it to the doctor’s ears.

During auscultation of the lungs one listens for the respiratory noises and the different rales that are characteristic of particular diseases. From the variation of the cardiac tones and the occurrence of noises, the condition of cardiac activity and presence of heart diseases can be ascertained. Arteries may be listened to in order to determine changes in the blood pressure. The presence of peristalsis of the stomach or intestines can be established by auscultation of the abdomen, and in pregnancy the heartbeat of the fetus can be detected.

In veterinary science, auscultation is employed in the diagnosis of diseases of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems of animals. In direct auscultation the investigator places his ear against a sheet or a towel covering the portion of an animal’s body being examined; indirect auscultation is carried out by means of a stethoscope or phonendoscope. Instrumental auscultation was first employed in veterinary science by the Hungarian scientist J. Marek in 1901. In the USSR the auscultation method was perfected by the veterinary scientists K. M. Gol’tsman, N. P. Rukhliadev, A. V. Sinev, A. R. Evgrafov, G. V. Domrachev, V. I. Zaitsev, P. S. Ionov, and I. G. Sharabrin.


Strazhesko, N. D. Izbrannye trudy, vol. 1. Kiev, 1955.
Gubergrits, A. Ia. Neposredstvennoe issledovanie bol’nogo. Izhevsk, 1956.
Klinicheskaia diagnostika vnutrennikh boleznei domashnikh zhivot-nykh. Moscow, 1958.
Sudakov, N. A. “Auskultatsiia.” In Veterinarnaia entsiklopediia, vol. 1. Moscow, 1968.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The act of listening to sounds from internal organs, especially the heart and lungs, to aid in diagnosing their physical state.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
In my unscientific study at the office, invariably, a measurement by me manually auscultating the blood pressure, and a subsequent measurement using the patient's device, do not match.
After auscultating bilateral equal breath sounds, the tube was fixed at the 10 cm mark at the left angle of the mouth.
Ellett (2004) published the following information regarding methods to determine NG tube placement that have been studied in adults: aspirating gastric contents and measuring the pH; measuring bilirubin, pepsin, and trypsin levels; examining the visual characteristics of the aspirate; placing the proximal end of the tube under water and observing for bubbles with expiration; measuring the carbon dioxide (CO2) level at the proximal end of the NG tube; auscultating for a gurgling sound over the abdomen; and measuring the length from the nose to the proximal end of the tube.
auscultating: Listening for sounds within the body with the use of a stethoscope.
Some, but not all, of these basic skills are taking a blood pressure, pulse, respiration, temperature, auscultating chest sounds, and such observational and interpretive competencies as evaluation of patient demeanor, patient's perception of health status, and the offering of a reassuring touch of an attending nurse; all of which are performed in a deliberative and purposive manner.
Auscultating the access should be done in conjunction with palpation.
Tell the parents that "the heart sounds normal" or that "the lungs are clear" while you are auscultating.