Cardiovascular examination

  • Candidate Instructions
  • Actor Instructions
  • Mark Sheet
  • Score

Location: You are an FY1 in cardiovascular clinic, you have been asked by your consultant to perform a full cardiovascular examination and present to them

Patient: 45 year old presenting to out patient clinic.

– Examine this patients cardiovascular system
– Talk through your examination whilst examining, stating any key positives and negatives
– After 6 minutes you will be asked a series of questions by the examiner

Note to actor: Try to restrain yourself from volunteering to much information – you may do so when prompted (that is, by a specific question, not a general one). If a student is on the wrong line of clinical reasoning do not fuel this line of thinking, state no to the question as being ambiguous may prompt further questioning and does not allow the student to be appropriately tested. The aim of the exercise is to take a focused history; short answers are required.

Candidate has been asked to examine the cardiovascular system. The candidate does not have to take a history. If they attempt to do so then please remind them this is an examination station only. However they are expected to gain consent for the examination.

Category Question
Consent Candidate appropriately introduced themselves with:
Full name
Medical school
Year or grade
Clarifies who they are examining
Gains consent for examination

Examination introduction Examination introduction
Washes hands
Appropriately exposes patient
Positions patient correctly at 45 degrees

Inspection Inspection from end of bed
Observes patient from end of bed
Comments on general appearance (well / unwell)
Comments if oxygen, fluids or monitoring is in place
Comments if walking aids are present

Peripheral examination Peripheral examination
Capillary refill time
Temperature normal
Finger clubbing
Splinter hemorrhages
Tendon xanthomata

Pulses Examines for pulses
Radial pulse – rate, rhythm, volume, character
Collapsing pulse – no marking point if candidate does not ask if any shoulder / doesn’t explain procedure
Radio-radial delay
Carotid pulse

Face Face examined for:
Malar flush
Corneal arcus
Conjunctival pallor
Central cyanosis

Inspection Closer inspection for
Presence of pacemaker scar of pacemaker
Midline sternotomy scar
Vein harvesting scar on legs

Palpation Palpation for
Apex beat – 5th intercostal space, midclavicular line

Auscultation Auscultation, examiner prompt: “please explain to me the anatomical landmarks you are using as you examine the patient”
Auscultates whilst palpating carotid pulse
Aortic region (2nd right intercostal space)
Pulmonary region (2ne left intercostal space)
Tricuspid region (Left lower sternal edge i.e 4/5th intercostal space)
Apex region (Left 5th intercostal space mid-clavicular line)
Examines all 4 regions with both bell and diaphragm

Auscultation extended Auscultation heart sounds extended
Carotid pulse auscultation, held at end expiration
Patient rolled onto left hand side, listening over apex, at expiration
Patient sitting forwards, leaning forwards, at expiration

Auscultation extended
"Please listen to the following sound clip of auscultation of the heart and comment on this"

Heart sounds one and two can be heard
No additional heart sounds

Auscultation extra-precordium
Auscultation of lung bases
Checks for sacral oedema
Checks for calf tenderness and pitting oedema

Finishing Finishing remarks
Invites patient to dress again
Re-washes hands
Offers to view observation chart (including BP, HR, O2 sat and T)

Question What investigations would you like to do?

Question What is represented by S1 and S2?
S1 = closure of the atrioventricular valves
S2 = closure of the semilunar valves