Physical examination and auscultation can be challenging for medical students. The aim of this study was to investigate whether a brief session of group training in focused cardiac ultrasound (FCU) with a pocket-sized device would allow medical students to improve their ability to detect clinically relevant cardiac lesions at the bedside.
Twenty-one medical students in their clinical curriculum completed 4 hours of FCU training in groups. The students examined patients referred for echocardiography with emphasis on auscultation, followed by FCU. Findings from physical examination and FCU were compared with those from standard echocardiography performed and analyzed by cardiologists.
In total, 72 patients were included in the study, and 110 examinations were performed. With a stethoscope, sensitivity to detect clinically relevant (moderate or greater) valvular disease was 29% for mitral regurgitation, 33% for aortic regurgitation, and 67% for aortic stenosis. FCU improved sensitivity to detect mitral regurgitation (69%, P