This is a good indication of gastrointestinal motility.  Frequency, duration, intensity and location of intestinal sounds should be noted.  If no sounds are auscultable for a long time, the bowel is presumably not functioning.  Conversely, intestinal sounds do not necessarily mean propulsive motility.  Start ausculting in the paralumbar fossa and then ventrally (both points on each side).    One may percuss the abdomen while ausculting to listen for high-pitched resonant sounds associated with gas-distended bowel.  



Click on your next PE point to continue with your physical exam.



Copyright 1999-2001
New Bolton Center Field Service Department
Students:  Keith Javic - Class of 2003, C. Nikki Conroy - Class of 2003