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Br J Nurs. 2009 Oct 8-21;18(18):1125-9.

A critical review of auscultating bowel sounds.

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  • 1University of Brighton, Brighton, UK.


Auscultation (listening for bowel sounds) is part of an abdominal physical assessment and is performed to determine whether normal bowel sounds are present. This article evaluates the technique involved in listening for bowel sounds and the significance of both normal and abnormal auscultation findings. Review of the relevant literature reveals conflicting information and a lack of available research on the topic of auscultating bowel sounds. The clinical significance of auscultation findings when there is no evidence base to support the practice of listening for bowel sounds is explored by further analysis of the literature and reflection by the author on the teaching she received and her own personal practice.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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