Medicine: Booming Hearts

William Bennett Bean, a young resident physician at Cincinnati General Hospital, was alarmed by a patient who complained that his heart was making a noise "like a paddle wheel on a river." Dr. Bean could hear the noise clearly at a distance of two feet; through the stethoscope it was so loud that it hurt his ears. The patient recovered without any special treatment. But the experience made Dr. Bean a student of booming hearts.

In 14 years of research, he tracked down 164 cases, reports Dr. Bean (now at the University of Iowa) in the current A.M.A. Journal. The cases range...

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