Differences - Firm vs distended?

Nursing Students Student Assist


Hi all,

I just want to verify - what is the real/actual difference between abdomen distention and firm abdomen? I just want to get my physical assessment and documentation correct ;)

Thanks for any feedback.

Specializes in ER, ICU.

Distended means sticking out more than normal (shape), firm refers to the, well, firmness (texture). A belly can be distended and soft, or not distended and firm. Distension can be difficult to differentiate from obesity, firm is more obvious.

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