Guide to Clinical Examination/Cardiovascular examination

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The cardiovascular exam consists of three portions: 1. Visual Examination 2. Palpation 3. Auscultation

Visual Examination: A thorough visual examination includes examination of the jugular venous wave from as well as the chest itself. The patient should be at about a 30 degree angle to the ground. The examiner should look at the neck and note the pulsations of the jugular vein, which can be told apart from carotid pulsations by applying pressure distally and noting a cessation of pulsation. The examiner should also measure the height of the jugular venous pulse from the sternum. An abnormally high JVP may indicative of right heart failure.