Intercostal Spaces

Spaces between the ribs

Intercostal Spaces


The spaces between the ribs are known as intercostal spaces. The spaces commonly used for cardiac auscultation are numbered 1 – 5 from the top.

Since heart sounds and murmurs do not transmit well through bone, the stethoscope works best when placed in the spaces between the ribs on either side of the sternum.

Note: the space between the top rib and the clavicle is not an intercostal space, it is the subclavicular space.

See Also

The 4 Common Listening Areas

Additional Listening Areas