MedSchool: Ace Your OSCEsThe Medical Company
GET - On the App Store

Abdominal Rigidity

August 18th, 2017


Firmness of the abdominal wall muscles may be due to guarding or rigidity. It is important to determine whether this is voluntary, due to the patient's apprehension, or involuntary - a sign of peritonism.
  • Interpretation

  • Guarding - refers to a voluntary muscle contraction, to protect from pain.
  • Rigidity - refers to an involuntary muscle spasm due to underlying inflammation.
  • Feel For

  • Tense abdominal muscles, generally isolated over one segment.
  • Causes of Abdominal Rigidity

  • Infection post perforation - appendix, diverticulitis, IBD, perforated ulcer, surgical anastomosis
  • Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP)
  • Blood - endometriosis, ruptured ovarian cyst, trauma
  • Bile - post-surgical
  • Urine - pelvic trauma
  • Pancreatic fluid - pancreatitis
Want more info like this?
  • Your electronic clinical medicine handbook
  • Guides to help pass your exams
  • Tools every medical student needs
  • Quick diagrams to have the answers, fast
  • Quizzes to test your knowledge
Sign Up Now

Snapshot: Initialising...