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Clin Med Res. 2019 Jul 19. pii: cmr.2018.1429. doi: 10.3121/cmr.2018.1429. [Epub ahead of print]

Abdominal Physical Signs and Medical Eponyms: Part II. Percussion and Auscultation, 1924-1980.

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University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Graduate Medical Education, 6850 Lake Nona Blvd, Orlando, FL 32827.
University of Florida, Department of Medicine, 2000 SW Archer Rd, Gainesville, FL 32610.
Erciyes University School of Pharmacy, Department of the History of Pharmacy and Ethics, Talas, Kayseri 38280 Turkey.
Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, 1000 North Oak Avenue, Marshfield, WI 54449.
University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, 6850 Lake Nona Blvd, Orlando, FL 32827; Email:



Percussion and auscultation are derived from the Latin words to touch and hear respectively. Covered are abdominal percussion signs and ausculatory sign discovered from 1924 to 1980. Signs ascribed as medical eponyms pay homage to these physicians who provided new and unique insights into disease.


PubMed Medline, online Internet word searches, textbooks, and references from other source text. PubMed was searched using the Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) of the name of the eponyms and text words associated with the sign.


Many of these signs have been discarded because of modern imaging and diagnostic techniques. When combined with a high clinical suspicion, positive results using percussion combined with palpation is a useful bedside technique in detecting splenic enlargement. Thus some of these maneuvers remain important bedside techniques that skilled practitioners should master and along with a meaningful history provides relevant information to diagnosis. It is through learning about these techniques that we gain a sense of humility on the difficulty that physicians were faced prior to the advent of techniques which now allow us an easier way to visualize and diagnose the underlying disease processes.


Abdomen; Auscultation; Eponyms; History of Medicine; Percussion; Signs

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