Physical Examination of Chest

  • Jianping Zhao
  • Weihong Jiang
  • Rui Zeng


The chest is the upper part of the trunk between the neck and abdomen. The bony framework of chest is composed of the sternum, ribs and vertebral column. The skin, muscles, pleurae and the bony framework constitute the thorax. The diaphragm and thorax form the thoracic cavity, which is divided into two lateral compartments and one central compartment. The lateral compartments contain the left and right lungs and pleural cavities. The central compartment, occupied by the mediastinum, contains the pericardium, heart, great vessels, trachea, esophagus, thoracic duct, thymus, nerves, lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes. The purpose of chest examination is to determine whether the thoracic organs are in physiological or pathological state. The examination of chest wall, thorax and breast is mainly performed by inspection and palpation, while the heart and lungs should be examined in the sequence of inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation.

Suggested Readings

  1. Bettencourt PE, Del Bono EA, Spiegelman D, Hertzmark E, Murphy RL Jr. Clinical utility of chest auscultation in common pulmonary diseases. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1994;150:1291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. and People's Medical Publishing House 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianping Zhao
    • 1
  • Weihong Jiang
    • 2
  • Rui Zeng
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of RespiratoryHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.Department of CardiologyCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  3. 3.Department of CardiologySichuan UniversityChengduChina

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