PHYSICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
As a Medical NCO, you will frequently encounter patients who exhibit signs and
symptoms of gastrointestinal disease or trauma. In this lesson, you will gain a
familiarization with techniques and tools of conducting a physical assessment of the
digestive system. Your ability to adequately perform an evaluation could be critical for
ASSEMBLE A PATIENT HISTORY
a. Past Disease. Ask the patient if he has had any diseases in the past. Be
sure to note any of the following in the patient's past.
Colitis--often indicated by intolerance for dairy products.
Intestinal obstruction--accompanied by constipation or ribbon-like stools.
(4) Hiatal hernia--upper portion of the stomach protrudes through the
opening in the diaphragm.
Food or drug sensitivity.
b. History of Current Illness. Record such information including symptoms of
Anorexia. Include eating habits as well as previous and current weight.
Nausea. Ask whether nausea is related to certain foods and
(3) Vomiting. Include frequency and intensity of vomiting and whether or
not there is blood in the vomitus.
(4) Diarrhea. Record frequency and types of stools such as whether the
stools are loose, black, or bloody.