Harvey’s “Greatest Hits” of Heart Sounds Now Online

Posted in GUMC Stories

Even after his death, the late W. Proctor Harvey, M.D., continues to teach the importance of a physician’s human touch and practice at the bedside. A unique textbook that exquisitely captures the skill and wisdom of the former Georgetown University School of Medicine professor, who was also one of the nation’s most revered cardiologists, is now available online.

During his five decades of practicing medicine, Harvey compiled nearly 30,000 heart sounds and murmurs. From them, the top 2,788, sounds were selected and published as part of Clinical Heart Disease, a book completed just two weeks before his death in 2007. The book is co-authored by Julius Bedynek, M.D., and David C. Canfield.

With the new iTunes version of the book for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, medical students and clinicians can easily access the “greatest hits” of heart sounds via their hand held devices.

Harvey is said to have been one of the nation’s most skilled practitioner of auscultation — the detection of cardiac ailments made by closely listening to the heart.

“His voice is heard throughout the recordings, guiding the listener to understand what is heard,” reads the book’s review. “In addition to the comprehensive clinical information, personal anecdotes have been blended into the written text and into the audio narration. Occasional classical music excerpts, which simulate various heart murmurs and rhythms, have also been added to the audio collection to aid in teaching clinical auscultation of the heart.”

“It is quite appropriate that a man so skilled in listening would be behind a masterfully created book created for the ear,” says Stephen Ray Mitchell, MD, Dean for Medical School Education at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. “Essentially, this book is a greatest hits of heart murmurs. This incredible book should be in the hands of every medical student, resident, and clinician in the country.”

Mitchell advised medical students that, “You will learn innocent from guilty, and you will learn to recognize the murmurs of acquired and congenital critical valvular lesions. You will learn to recognize heart failure clinically long before the echo is ordered. This incredible book provides Dr. Harvey’s charm and his simple, effective style which will have you listening to your patients always with empathy, but also listening to their hearts with impressive accuracy and skills.”

Harvey died at the age of 89 in 2007 from complications after a fall. He joined Georgetown in 1950 and led the medical school’s cardiology division for 32 years. He maintained an office at the university and continued to teach until just before his death.

Harvey left his mark on the university in countless other ways. To show its appreciation, the university is constructing a state-of-the-art facility, appropriately named the W. Proctor Harvey Clinical Teaching Amphitheater. The multimedia-enhanced classroom will allow students to experience the art and science of medical study at an interactive level.

Read more about it here: http://som.georgetown.edu/about/ProctorHarveyAmphitheater/.

By: Karen Mallet, GUMC Communications 

(Published August 8, 2012 )