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What is auscultation?

Auscultation in respiratory physiotherapy is the process of listening to the chest using a stethoscope (specialised medical device that is used against the skin to amplify sounds from within the human body).

Active cycle of breathing exercises supervised by a specialist physiotherapistAbove: Active cycle of breathing exercises supervised by a specialist physiotherapist

Auscultation is used by respiratory physiotherapists to assess your respiratory function. It allows your physiotherapist to understand the nature, severity and location of your respiratory condition. Your physiotherapist will listen to your chest in a number of positions to assess how the air gets in and out of your lungs, and determine any areas of obstruction or restriction.

What are the benefits of auscultation?

By listening to your chest, an experienced physiotherapist will be able to build up a detailed picture that will allow them to understand the cause and extent of your respiratory problems. They will then use these findings to select a suitable treatment approach.

Other benefits of auscultation include:
  • Essentially non-invasive,
  • Poses as no risk to the subject or physiotherapist,
  • Quick and easy to carry out

Who would benefit from auscultation?

Any person with a chest complaint would benefit from an auscultation assessment.

This includes people with chronic (longstanding) chest conditions and those experiencing an acute, perhaps one-off respiratory flare-up.

Auscultation enables the respiratory physiotherapist to create a diagnosis from which a treatment programme can be created and put in place. Auscultation can then be used as a measure for improvement.

If you are experiencing respiratory problems, contact today on 0330 088 7800 for a full respiratory assessment (including auscultation). Alternatively, book an appointment with us online today.

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