The major elements of the cardiac exam include observation, palpation and, most importantly, auscultation (percussion is omitted). As with all other areas of the physical exam, establishing adequate exposure and a quiet environment are critical. Initially, the patient should rest supine with the upper body elevated 30 to 45 degrees. Most exam tables have an adjustable top. If not, use 2 or 3 pillows. Remember that although assessment of pulse and blood pressure are discussed in the vital signs section they are actually important elements of the cardiac exam.