Balogh M, Rishniw M, Vörös K. Remote Teaching of Canine Cardiac Auscultation Using Digital Phonocardiograms. J Vet Med Educ. 2023 Feb;50(1):104-110

PMID: 35100100


Veterinary students often struggle to correctly interpret heart sounds. This study sought to evaluate if additional online training using digital phonocardiograms (DPCGs) improves students' ability to identify normal and pathologic heart sounds in dogs. Thirty-six randomly assigned veterinary students listened to and interpreted 10 audio recordings of normal heart sounds (2), heart murmurs (4), and arrhythmias (4) at the start and the end of a 4-week period. Twenty-two students participated in training with DPCGs, including those created from these recordings during this period, via a self-study website (n = 12) or online webinar (n = 10). Their results were compared with those of a control group (n = 14) that did not undergo additional training. Although pre- and post-training test scores did not differ between groups, both training groups showed within-group improvement between the two tests (p = .024, p = .037); the control group did not (p = .49). Although neither training group showed differences in ability to differentiate normal heart sounds from arrhythmias, both showed increased ability to detect and specify heart murmurs and provide refined diagnoses of detected arrhythmias. These results suggest additional training, even without actual patients, improves students' ability to identify heart murmurs and provide specific diagnoses for arrhythmias. Further study with a larger sample size and an additional group without DPCG-based training would help evaluate the effectiveness of DPCGs regarding arrhythmias. Studying a larger sample size would also allow for a training group participating in both training methods, measuring cumulative effectiveness of both methods.