Week 6: Assessment of the Abdomen and Gastrointestinal System

On your way home from dinner, you start experiencing sharp pains in your abdomen. You ate seafood—could you have food poisoning? What else might be causing your pain? Appendicitis? Should you head to the emergency room, or should you wait and see how you feel in the morning?

Numerous ailments can affect the GI system and the abdomen. Because the organs are so close, it can be difficult to conduct an accurate assessment. Also, pain in another area of the body can affect the GI system. For example, patients with chronic migraines often report nausea.

This week, you will explore how to assess the abdomen and gastrointestinal system.

Learning Objectives
Students will:

Evaluate abnormal abdomen and gastrointestinal findings
Apply concepts, theories, and principles relating to health assessment techniques and diagnoses for the abdomen and gastrointestinal system
Analyze chest X-Ray and abdominal X-Ray imaging
Identify concepts, theories, and principles related to advanced health assessment
Learning Resources
Required Readings (click to expand/reduce)

Ball, J. W., Dains, J. E., Flynn, J. A., Solomon, B. S., & Stewart, R. W. (2019). Seidel’s guide to physical examination: An interprofessional approach (9th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.

 

Chapter 6, “Vital Signs and Pain Assessment”

This chapter describes the experience of pain and its causes. The authors also describe the process of pain assessment.

Chapter 18, “Abdomen”

In this chapter, the authors summarize the anatomy and physiology of the abdomen. The authors also explain how to conduct an assessment of the abdomen.
Dains, J. E., Baumann, L. C., & Scheibel, P. (2019). Advanced health assessment and clinical diagnosis in primary care (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.

Credit Line: Advanced Health Assessment and Clinical Diagnosis in Primary Care, 6th Edition by Dains, J.E., Baumann, L. C., & Scheibel, P. Copyright 2019 by Mosby. Reprinted by permission of Mosby via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Chapter 3, “Abdominal Pain”

This chapter outlines how to collect a focused history on abdominal pain. This is followed by what to look for in a physical examination in order to make an accurate diagnosis.

Chapter 10, “Constipation”

The focus of this chapter is on identifying the causes of constipation through taking a focused history, conducting physical examinations, and performing laboratory tests.

Chapter 12, “Diarrhea”

In this chapter, the authors focus on diagnosing the cause of diarrhea. The chapter includes questions to ask patients about the condition, things to look for in a physical exam, and suggested laboratory or diagnostic studies to perform.

Chapter 29, “Rectal Pain, Itching, and Bleeding”

This chapter focuses on how to diagnose rectal bleeding and pain. It includes a table containing possible diagnoses, the accompanying physical signs, and suggested diagnostic studies.

Colyar, M. R. (2015). Advanced practice nursing procedures. Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis.

Credit Line: Advanced practice nursing procedures, 1st Edition by Colyar, M. R. Copyright 2015 by F. A. Davis Company. Reprinted by permission of F. A. Davis Company via the Copyright Clearance Center.

 

These sections below explain the procedural knowledge needed to perform gastrointestinal procedures.

Chapter 115, “X-Ray Interpretation of Abdomen” (pp. 514–520)

Note: Download this Student Checklist and Abdomen Key Points to use during your practice abdominal examination.

Ball, J. W., Dains, J. E., Flynn, J. A., Solomon, B. S., & Stewart, R. W. (2019). Abdomen: Student checklist. In Seidel’s guide to physical examination: An interprofessional approach (9th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.

Credit Line: Seidel’s Guide to Physical Examination, 9th Edition by Ball, J. W., Dains, J. E., Flynn, J. A., Solomon, B. S., & Stewart, R. W. Copyright 2019 by Elsevier Health Sciences. Reprinted by permission of Elsevier Health Sciences via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Ball, J. W., Dains, J. E., Flynn, J. A., Solomon, B. S., & Stewart, R. W. (2019). Abdomen: Key points. In Seidel’s guide to physical examination: An interprofessional approach (9th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.

Credit Line: Seidel’s Guide to Physical Examination, 9th Edition by Ball, J. W., Dains, J. E., Flynn, J. A., Solomon, B. S., & Stewart, R. W. Copyright 2019 by Elsevier Health Sciences. Reprinted by permission of Elsevier Health Sciences via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Chabok, A., Thorisson, A., Nikberg, M., Schultz, J. K., & Sallinen, V. (2021). Changing paradigms in the management of acute uncomplicated diverticulitis. Scandinavian Journal of Surgery, 110(2), 180–186. https://doi.org/10.1177/14574969211011032

Hussein, A., Arena, A., Yu, C., Cirilli, A., & Kurkowski, E. (2021). Abdominal pain in the elderly patient: Point-of-care ultrasound diagnosis of small bowel obstruction. Clinical Practice and Cases in Emergency Medicine, 5(1), 127–128. https://doi.org/10.5811/cpcem.2020.11.50029

Document: Midterm Exam Review (Word document)

Optional Resource
LeBlond, R. F., Brown, D. D., & DeGowin, R. L. (2020). DeGowin’s diagnostic examination (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Medical.

Chapter 9, “The Abdomen, Perineum, Anus, and Rectosigmoid”

This chapter explores the health assessment processes for the abdomen, perineum, anus, and rectosigmoid. This chapter also examines the symptoms of many conditions in these areas.

Chapter 10, “The Urinary System”

In this chapter, the authors provide an overview of the physiology of the urinary system. The chapter also lists symptoms and conditions of the urinary system.
Required Media (click to expand/reduce)