How To: Perform a general abdominal exam on a patient

Perform a general abdominal exam on a patient

Any patient with pain in the abdominal area will require you to perform an abdominal examination, and this video lesson outlines in great detail, how to perform a general abdomen exam. This is great for any medical student or up-and-coming doctor — even nursing students could benefit from this exam procedure. You'll learn about inspection of the abs, auscultation, percussion, palpation, the liver, the aorta, and the spleen. After watching the full procedure, you should be able to identify the significance of a positive finding in any of these tests: rebound tenderness, liver scratch test, costovertebral tenderness, shifting dullness, and leg signs for appendicitis.

* Position patient and drape
* Use the correct terminology for locations on the abdomen
* Ask patient to point to areas of pain and examine that area last

* Look for scars, striae, hernias, vascular changes, lesions, or rashes
* Look for pulsations or peristalsis
* Observe the abdominal contour

* Listen until bowel sounds are heard or for a full minute
* Report sounds as increased, decreased, or normal

Auscultation for Bruits:
* Auscultate for aorta
* Auscultate for renal arteries
* Auscultate for iliac arteries

* Percuss in all 4 quadrants
* Outline areas of dullness and tympany
* Percuss liver span in midclavicular line
* Percuss for splenic dullness at the last interspace in the left anterior axillary line

Light Palpation:
* Lightly palpate in all 4 quadrants and the midline
* Observe for signs of discomfort

Deep Palpation:
* Deeply palpate in all 4 quadrants and the midline
* Identify organ enlargement or other masses if present

Liver and Aorta:
* Palpate for the liver
* Palpate for the aorta and determines width

Go to OPETA for the rest of the written instructions, including all special considerations and palpation of the spleen.

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