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QOD 31: Palpation and Percussion of Abdomen (GI/GU/Health Promotion and Maintenance)

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C.  Inspection, auscultation, percussion, palpation


When assessing any other part of the body, the nurse would normally perform the methods of assessment in the order of inspection, palpation, percussion, and then auscultation. However, when assessing the abdomen, the order of the techniques is different and should be instead done in the order of inspection, auscultation, percussion, and then palpation. This is because performing palpation or percussion could stimulate the patients gastrointestinal tract and the nurse may hear increased or decreased bowel sounds on later auscultation. The nurse should auscultate to hear bowel sounds first before palpation.

Date Published - Feb 22, 2016
Date Modified - Jul 10, 2016