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Set a good example: use your stethoscope appropriately
  1. J I George Strang
  1. Correspondence to J I George Strang, george-bath{at}

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The article by Professor C H Hawkes, ‘Get rid of your stethoscope’,1 is entertaining and provocative, but should we follow his advice? As a general physician with an interest in neurology I believe that the stethoscope is useful, but should complement a full cardiovascular examination, which takes minutes. Of all the systems, the cardiovascular system is most likely to be related to neurological disease and clinical examination may support this. All peripheral pulses should be palpated, and taking the blood pressure oneself provides an opportunity to examine a peripheral artery, noting the quality of the pulse and the presence of an arrhythmia. The jugular venous pulse should be inspected, …

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  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.