What is the clinical application to nursing of dividing the abdomen into regions and quadrants?

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jraineharrison | College Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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In human anatomy, the abdomen is divided into four quadrants.  The quadrants include the right upper quadrant, the left upper quadrant, the right lower quadrant and the left lower quadrant.  This division occur along at imaginary horizontal and vertical axes using the belly button.  

Understanding the quadrants, or regions, of the abdomen are important in making a proper clinical diagnosis and treatment plan.  Based on patient medical history, physical exam, laboratory tests, and location of pain, a proper diagnosis may be made.  For example, abdominal pain in the right lower quadrant may suggest appendicitis.  Identifying the location and severity of the pain as well as reviewing additional factors can help the care provider create a differential diagnosis.  The differential diagnosis allows the care provider to rule out more serious issues and address other potential causes. 

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