Developing an Abdominal Palpation Simulator: Quantifying Forces Applied During Examination

Lynne Burrow, Harry Owen, Karen Reynolds

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Introduction: A clinical examination of the abdomen is performed as part of a routine physical examination, when a patient
    presents with abdominal pain or a history that suggests a possible abdominal pathology, or when there is suspected internal
    trauma. A clinician palpates the regions of the abdomen to feel for tenderness, guarding and underlying abnormalities. This
    involves both observing the patient’s response and feeling the response of their abdomen to various applied pressures in the
    different regions.
    We aim to develop a simulator that can teach and train abdominal palpation examination skills by determining the applied
    force and position of an examiner’s hand on a patient’s abdomen.
    In order to incorporate the training of appropriate palpation forces into the design of the simulator, it was necessary to know
    the location and magnitude of typical forces applied to the abdomen during palpation. A search of the literature found only
    initial studies1,2 on a limited number of test cases recording forces applied to the abdomen.
    Methods: Ethics approval was obtained to perform a pilot study in the South Australian Movement Analysis Centre to
    investigate the palpation examination forces applied to a subject’s abdomen. For each trial, reflective markers were attached
    to the subject’s abdomen and the clinician’s dominant hand to track their motion with the infrared cameras in the VICON
    three dimensional motion analysis system while AMTI force plates recorded the force.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    EventEPSM ABEC 2008 -
    Duration: 16 Nov 2008 → …


    ConferenceEPSM ABEC 2008
    Period16/11/08 → …


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