Abdominal Assessment: Beyond Bowel Sounds

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Along with the chest, the abdomen is a major focus of assessment. While listening for bowel sounds is important, that isn't the only way to assess this important part of the anatomy.

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Along with the chest (i.e. Heart Sounds and Lung Sounds), the abdomen is a major focus of assessment. While listening for bowel sounds is important, that isn't the only way to assess this important part of the anatomy. You can inspect the area, palpate, and percuss. However, you should probably listen to bowel sounds before manipulating the stomach as this can cause changes in the way the sounds are heard.

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Meet the educator

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Lynda Lampert
Lynda is a registered nurse with three years experience on a busy surgical floor in a city hospital. She graduated with an Associates degree in Nursing from Mercyhurst College Northeast in 2007 and lives in Erie, Pennsylvania in the United States. In her work, she took care of patients post operatively from open heart surgery, immediately post-operatively from gastric bypass, gastric banding surgery and post abdominal surgery. She also dealt with patient populations that experienced active chest pain, congestive heart failure, end stage renal disease, uncontrolled diabetes and a variety of other chronic, mental and surgical conditions.
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What do others think?

154 reviews by Ausmed Learners
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Jezreel Tijing
10 Jul 2021
Good educational tool for nurses
Anne Domingo
21 Mar 2020
This a good resource to improve and reinforce existing knowledge in patient assessment.
Suzanne Martin
12 Sep 2020
I will now be able to look, feel and perform purcussion On abdomen
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Grant Crabbe
31 May 2020
The article provides a good summary of abdominal assessment, highlighting the importance of history taking and physical examination.
Marin Rajaratnam
28 Jun 2019
Jacqueline Lawson
27 Oct 2021
Great review on the process of conducting abdominal assessment and important points to remember.
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Virginia Knight
05 Oct 2020
Excellent reinforcement of knowledge.
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Lisa Cornell
23 Feb 2020
Marin Rajaratnam
28 Jun 2019
Doma Bomjan
29 Oct 2022
Registered Nurse
4.5 / 5
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