Ascites physical examination

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Eiman Ghaffarpasand, M.D. [2]

Overview

Physical examination of patients with ascites is usually remarkable for flank dullness, shifting dullnes, and fluid wave. The presence of decreased breath sounds or dull percussion in lower chest on physical examination is diagnostic of pleural effusion beside ascites.

Physical Examination

Appearance of the Patient

  • Patients with ascites usually appear ill.

Vital Signs

Skin

HEENT

Neck

Lungs

Heart

Abdomen

Back

  • Back examination of patients with ascites is usually normal.

Genitourinary

Neuromuscular

Extremities


References

  1. Cattau EL, Benjamin SB, Knuff TE, Castell DO (1982). "The accuracy of the physical examination in the diagnosis of suspected ascites". JAMA. 247 (8): 1164–6. PMID 7057606. 
  2. Walker, H (1990). Clinical methods : the history, physical, and laboratory examinations. Boston: Butterworths. ISBN 0-409-90077-X. 

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