Structure and Function of the Major Organ Systems in the Abdominal Cavity.
1.Discuss the physiology (structure and function) of the body system including details about the major organ systems. 2.Construct relevant health history questions (subjective data) pertaining to the body system. 3.Provide an overview of the objective data and expected normal physical examination findings for this body system.Structure and Function of the Major Organ Systems in the Abdominal Cavity. 4.Explain special physical assessment examination techniques or procedures specific to assessing this body system.
5.Analyze and discuss how you might adapt your physical assessment skills or interviewing techniques to accommodate each of the following specific populations: Infant/pediatric Pregnancy Geriatric 6.Identify one major disease or disease process that may significantly impact this body system. 7.Synthesis and discuss the expected abnormal physical examination findings that may be associated with this disease or disease process. 8.Summarize the key points.Structure and Function of the Major Organ Systems in the Abdominal Cavity.
The Abdomen: Physiology, Pathophysiology, History Taking, and Physical Examination
The abdomen is the space in the human body that is enclosed by the abdominal cavity. This cavity is bounded at the top by the diaphragm, below by the upper lane of the pelvic cavity, antero-laterally by the abdominal muscles (abdominal wall), and posteriorly by the vertebral column and back muscles (Tortora & Derrickson, 2014). This paper is about the physiology and pathophysiology of the organ systems found in the abdominal cavity.
Structure and Function of the Major Organ Systems in the Abdominal Cavity
Of all the cavities in the human body, the abdominal cavity is the largest and contains the digestive system organs which include the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), the liver, and the pancreas. Also present in this cavity is the spleen and the kidneys. The cavity is lined by a serous membrane referred to as the peritoneum. Since only the kidneys are present in the abdominal cavity but the ureters extend into the pelvic cavity or pelvis, the only complete major organ system in the abdominal cavity is the digestive system. That said, there are also major nerves that innervate the structures within the abdominal cavity. A good example is the tenth cranial nerve – the vagus nerve. Amongst others, this nerve is responsible for the autonomic parasympathetic innervation of the GIT. Three major branches of the abdominal aorta also ensure that adequate blood supply reaches the organs in the abdominal cavity. These branches are the superior mesenteric artery, inferior mesenteric artery, and the celiac artery (Tortora & Derrickson, 2014). Structure and Function of the Major Organ Systems in the Abdominal Cavity.
The gastrointestinal or digestive system in the abdomen comprises of the lower section of the esophagus, the esophageal sphincter, the stomach, the pyloric sphincter, the duodenum, the ileum, and the colon. Associated organs making part of this system are the liver and the pancreas. The GIT is basically made up of an inner mucous membrane, a muscular layer, and an outer serous layer represented by the visceral peritoneum. The function of the digestive system is to break down food into nutrients that the body can absorb and assimilate. It breaks down proteins to amino acids, and carbohydrates to monosaccharides.Structure and Function of the Major Organ Systems in the Abdominal Cavity. These are the molecules that can pass through the single-celled walls of the millions of villi in the ileum. This digestive function is accomplished through digestive catalytic enzymes or juices produced by the stomach, the pancreas, and the liver. The spleen stores platelets and recycles erythrocytes. It also plays a role in the body’s immunity to disease. As for the kidneys, they are responsible for fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. For instance, the kidneys rid the body of the toxic nitrogenous waste urea. This is a metabolic waste product of protein breakdown. They also give out excess sodium and potassium in the urine, retaining only the amounts that are useful to the body. The suprarenal (adrenal) glands produce hormones such as cortisol involved in carbohydrate metabolism (Tortora & Derrickson, 2014). Structure and Function of the Major Organ Systems in the Abdominal Cavity.
Relevant Health History Questions or Subjective Data Pertaining to the Gastrointestinal System
The gastrointestinal system is taken as the only complete organ system in the abdomen. For this reason, the health history questions below will be pertaining to it (Ball et al., 2019; Bickley, 2017).
Overview of Objective Data and Expected Normal Physical Examination Findings for the Gastrointestinal System
In examining the abdomen (GIT system), the normal objective data should demonstrate an abdomen that is soft and non-tender. It should not be distended and bowel sounds should be present on auscultation. There should be no rebound tenderness or guarding by the patient. On palpation, no masses or hepatosplenomegally should be demonstrated. Percussion should also be negative for fluid in the cavity, such as in ascites (Ball et al., 2019; Bickley, 2017). Structure and Function of the Major Organ Systems in the Abdominal Cavity.
Special Physical Assessment Examination Techniques Specific to Examining the GIT System (Abdomen)
There are many signs of abnormality in anatomy and physiology of the abdomen that can be revealed through specific focused abdominal examination techniques. These are (Ball et al., 2019; Bickley, 2017).
Observation: The clinician looks for any distension or abnormal contours of the abdominal wall from different angles. Hepatomegally and splenomegally can be identified this way.
Auscultation: The clinician places a stethoscope on the abdominal wall and listens for the normal sound generated by food stomach and intestinal contents as they are moved along the gastrointestinal tract by peristalsis. Any abnormal sounds will be detected at this point.Structure and Function of the Major Organ Systems in the Abdominal Cavity.
Palpation: The clinician will place their hands on the abdomen and try to feel for any abnormal masses enlarged organs, or tenderness (pain). He/ she will also be trying to identify rebound tenderness (creating gentle pressure by the hands then releasing them). Rebound tenderness is an indication of peritonitis which may be caused by irritation through leaked gastrointestinal contents as happens in a perforated peptic ulcer. Structure and Function of the Major Organ Systems in the Abdominal Cavity.
Percussion: The clinician will place their hands with fingers apart and gently knock them while listening. This helps in revealing the consistency of the liver and spleen as well as fluid in the abdominal cavity.
Adapting Physical Assessment Skills or Interviewing Technique to Different Populations
Infant/ Pediatrics: Starting by playing with the child and putting them at ease. One can give them the stethoscope to touch and feel that it is harmless. Also, allowing the mother or guardian to hold the child as they are being examined also helps.
Pregnancy: While making the observation part of the physical assessment, the clinician will also need to look for the linea nigra, any striae gravidarum, and the correct fundal height for gestation.
Geriatric: The clinician will need to be patient as there is a likelihood of memory loss in senile dementia. The patient’s memory may also be jogged by mentioning past famous events and occasions that may help them remember dates during collection of subjective data (Ball et al., 2019; Bickley, 2017).Structure and Function of the Major Organ Systems in the Abdominal Cavity.
Perforated Peptic Ulcer and Its Abnormal Findings on Abdominal Examination
One of the disease conditions affecting the abdomen (GIT) is peptic ulceration. This occurs when hydrochloric acid produced by the stomach to facilitate digestion (low pH) and kill microbes taken with food overcomes the mucous membrane and corrodes the gastric or duodenal wall. If not well managed, the ulcer eventually perforates the wall spilling gastric contents into the peritoneal cavity. This causes irritation and widespread inflammation. The abnormal physical examination findings will be severe rebound tenderness as explained above, guarding, and abdominal rigidity (Hammer & McPhee, 2018; Huether & McCance, 2017).Structure and Function of the Major Organ Systems in the Abdominal Cavity.
The complete organ system found in the abdominal cavity and which is synonymous with it is the GIT system involved in digestion. There are specific physical examination techniques that help in diagnosing diseases and disease processes of the abdomen. These include observation, palpation, auscultation, and percussion. One of the disease processes affecting the abdomen is a perforated peptic ulcer, demonstrated by amongst others guarding, rigidity, and rebound tenderness on physical assessment.Structure and Function of the Major Organ Systems in the Abdominal Cavity.