Head-To-Toe Assessment P. Thorax (Cardiovascular System)

Inspection of the Heart
The chest wall and epigastrum is inspected while the client is in supine position. Observe for pulsation and heaves or lifts

Normal Findings:

  1. Pulsation of the apical impulse maybe visible. (this can give us some indication of the cardiac size).
  2. There should be no lift or heaves.

Palpation of the Heart
The entire precordium is palpated methodically using the palms and the fingers, beginning at the apex, moving to the left sternal border, and then to the base of the heart.

Normal Findings:

  1. No, palpable pulsation over the aortic, pulmonic, and mitral valves.
  2. Apical pulsation can be felt on palpation.
  3. There should be no noted abnormal heaves, and thrills felt over the apex.

Percussion of the Heart

The technique of percussion is of limited value in cardiac assessment. It can be used to determine borders of cardiac dullness.

Auscultation of the Heart

Anatomic areas for auscultation of the heart:

Aortic valve – Right 2nd ICS sternal border.

Pulmonic Valve – Left 2nd ICS sternal border.

Tricuspid Valve – – Left 5th ICS sternal border.

Mitral Valve – Left 5th ICS midclavicular line

Positioning the client for auscultation:

  • If the heart sounds are faint or undetectable, try listening to them with the patient seated and learning forward, or lying on his left side, which brings the heart closer to the surface of the chest.
  • Having the client seated and learning forward s best suited for hearing high-pitched sounds related to semilunar valves problem.
  • The left lateral recumbent position is best suited low-pitched sounds, such as mitral valve problems and extra heart sounds.

Auscultating the heart

    1. Auscultate the heart in all anatomic areas aortic, pulmonic, tricuspid and mitral
    2. Listen for the S1 and S2 sounds (S1 closure of AV valves; S2 closure of semilunar valve). S1 sound is best heard over the mitral valve; S2 is best heard over the aortric valve.
    3. Listen for abnormal heart sounds e.g. S3, S4, and Murmurs.
    4. Count heart rate at the apical pulse for one full minute.

Normal Findings:

  1. S1 & S2 can be heard at all anatomic site.
  2. No abnormal heart sounds is heard (e.g. Murmurs, S3 & S4).
  3. Cardiac rate ranges from 60 – 100 bpm.

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