Source: Alexander Goldfarb, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, MA
Medical percussion is based on the difference in pitch between the sounds elicited by tapping on the body wall. The auditory response to tapping depends on the ease with which the body wall vibrates, and is influenced by underlying organs, strength of the stroke, and the state of the body wall. There are three main medical percussion sounds: resonance (heard over lungs), tympany (heard over the air-filled bowel loops), and dullness (heard over fluid or solid organs). The contrast between dullness vs. tympany or resonance allows for determination of the size and margins of organs and masses, as well as identification of fluid accumulation and areas of consolidation. Percussion remains an intricate part of the physical diagnosis since it was first introduced more than 200 years ago, and is especially useful in examination of the lungs and abdomen.
As a part of an abdominal examination, percussion follows visual inspection and auscultation. The examiner should first percuss over each of the nine abdominal regions (epigastric region, right hypochondriac region, left hypochondriac region, umbilical region, right lumbar region, left lumbar region, hypogastric region, right inguinal region, and left…
Physical Examinations II
Source: Suneel Dhand, MD, Attending Physician, Internal Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Learning the proper technique for percussion and auscultation of the respiratory system is vital and comes with practice on real patients. Percussion is a useful skill that is often skipped during everyday clinical practice, but if performed correctly, it can help the physician to identify underlying lung pathology. Auscultation can provide an almost immediate diagnosis for a number of acute pulmonary conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, pneumonia, and pneumothorax.
The areas for auscultating the lungs correspond to the lung zones. Each lung lobe can be pictured underneath the chest wall during percussion and auscultation (Figure 1). The right lung has three lobes: the superior, middle, and inferior lobes. The left lung has two lobes: the superior and inferior lobes. The superior lobe of the left lung also has a separate projection known as the lingual.
Figure 1. Anatomy of lungs with respect to the chest wall. An approximate projection of lungs and their fissures and lobes …
Physical Examinations I
Source: Robert E. Sallis, MD. Kaiser Permanente, Fontana, California, USA
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint that consists of the femoral head articulating with the acetabulum. When combined with the hip ligaments, the hip makes for a very strong and stable joint. But, despite this stability, the hip has considerable motion and is prone to degeneration with wear and tear over time and after injury. Hip pain can affect patients of all ages and can be associated with various intra- and extra-articular pathologies. Anatomic location of pain in the hip region can often provide initial diagnostic clues. Essential aspects of the hip exam include an inspection for asymmetry, swelling, and gait abnormalities; palpation for areas of tenderness; range of motion and strength testing; a neurological (sensory) exam; and additional special diagnostic maneuvers to narrow down the differential diagnosis.…
Physical Examinations III
1Institute for Molecular Cardiovascular Research, RWTH Aachen University, 2Human Genetic Laboratory, University of Medicine and Pharmacy