• Andrew Bush


The technology of chest auscultation is little changed over many decades. The chest wall still presents a barrier to understanding what is going on in the lungs and heart. However, as ancillary testing becomes ever more sophisticated, clinical judgement including chest auscultation becomes even more important in determining who should be further investigated in more detail. Progress has been held back by the use of a multiplicity of different words to describe the same noise and the lack of reproducibility between physicians in their descriptions of what they hear. This is compounded by people describing a sound (e.g. wheeze) and, forgetting that all this means is that there is a narrowing of the airway, jumping to assumptions about pathology (bronchospasm) without taking any thought. This introduction attempts to set the scene for this book on Lung Sounds, including the current problems and how technology can be used to advance understanding, by taking a deliberately provocative look at where we are in auscultation and where we need to go in the next years. In the future, a microphone and a smartphone with digital sound analysis will replace the bell and diaphragm, the ears of the physician, and opinions not based on reality!


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Heart and Lung InstituteLondonUK
  2. 2.Imperial CollegeLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of Paediatric Respiratory MedicineRoyal Brompton HospitalLondonUK
  4. 4.Royal Brompton Harefield NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK

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