What to Look for During an External Chest Examination

External Chest Examination

External Chest Examination

Behind me on the board are the steps for your normal external chest examination. In an external chest examination, you want to follow the following steps. I’m going to go through them briefly. First, you want to look for signs of dyspnea. These would include use of accessory muscles and chest deformities. You look for signs of dyspnea.

Next, you want to check the trachea from midline position. Third, examine the chest, obviously with the patient undressed or in a hospital gown. You want to press on the ribs in the sternal area to identify any areas of pain or discomfort. Next, you want to check the chest for equal expansion during normal breathing.

Five, if you want to palpate for Fremitus. Six, you want to percuss the chest for dullness or for increased resonance. You should follow these in this order. You’re looking. You’re checking. Your examining and pressing a little bit for pain.

You’re, once again, looking for equal expansion, then you’re going to palpate for Fremitus, percuss for dullness or increased resonance, and then you want to get out your stethoscope. Beginning at the top and working down and moving around the torso, you want to check first with the diaphragm and the lungs, and then the bell for the heart.

You want to listen to all of those areas. You’re listening for normal heart rhythm. You’re listening for normal breathing sounds. Basically, you want the patient to breathe slowly through the mouth. Don’t listen through clothing. You can use the stethoscope under the clothing.

Basically, once you’ve completed all of the assessment, make sure you document your findings and include the date and time so that we know when it was done and that sort of thing. These are the basic steps in your ordinary external chest examination.

Provided by: Mometrix Test Preparation

Last updated: 09/18/2018


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