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Medical Students to Benefit from Doctor's Heart Sounds on iTunes

W. Proctor Harvey Archives Photo

Dr. W. Proctor Harvey joined Georgetown's faculty in 1950. Before he died in 2007, he compiled 30,000 heart sounds and murmurs.

August 8, 2012 – An iTunes version of a book by a revered Georgetown cardiologist now allows medical students and clinicians to hear nearly 3,000 heart sounds and murmurs to help them diagnose heart disease.

The late Georgetown Dr. W. Proctor Harvey died just two weeks after publishing the book Clinical Heart Disease and its accompanying DVDs in 2007.

He was considered America’s most skilled practitioner in detecting cardiac ailments by listening to the sounds of the heart.

Harvey compiled a total of 30,000 heart sounds and murmurs and the top 2,788 sounds were selected and published in the book, co-authored by Dr. Julius Bedynek and David C. Canfield.

‘Greatest Hits’

The iTunes version is likely to reach a much wider audience, as medical students use the book through smartphones and various other devices.

“It is quite appropriate that a man so skilled in listening would be behind a masterfully created book created for the ear," says Dr. Stephen Ray Mitchell, dean for medical school education at Georgetown’s School of Medicine.  “Essentially, this book is a greatest hits of heart murmurs. [It] should be in the hands of every medical student, resident and clinician in the country.”

Mitchell advised medical students that using the book will help them learn to recognize the murmurs of acquired and congenital critical valvular lesions and heart failure clinically “long before” an EKG is ordered. 

Center for Excellence

Harvey, who died at the age of 89, 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.

The university is in the process of constructing a teaching amphitheater, named in the doctor’s honor, to be known as 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.

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