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Percussion Medicine

Percussion meaning in medical medicine is defined as a technique for determining the underlying structures of a surface and is used in clinical tests to check the status of the thorax and abdomen. Percussion medical term can be configured as “a physical method used by respiratory physiotherapists to promote airway clearance by mobilizing secretions from one or more lung segments and directing them to the central airways.” Along with inspection, palpation, auscultation, and questioning, it is one of the four modalities of clinical examination. 

It's done by tapping the middle finger of one hand on the middle finger of the other with a wrist movement. The pleximeter (non-striking finger) is firmly placed on the body over the tissue. The pleximeter can be discarded when percussing boney sites such as the clavicle, and the bone can be tapped directly, as when percussing an apical cavitary lung lesion typical of TB.

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Percussion Medical Definition

Striking a part of the body with short, sharp strikes of the fingers to assess the size, position, and density of the underlying parts based on the sound received during a physical examination. Percussion medicine is most typically used to examine the heart and lungs on the chest and back. The sound waves will shift in pitch when the examiner's fingertips touch the chest over the heart since the heart is not resonant and the neighbouring lungs are. This can be used to determine the exact location and size of the heart.

Percussion medical definition also elaborates on why it is done. Body organs' size, consistency, and borders, and the presence or absence of fluid in various parts of the body.

Percussion of a bodily part creates a sound similar to that of a drum. The type of tissue within the body portion or organ is indicated by the sound.

Because they are filled with air, lungs sound hollow when percussion is applied to them. Bones, joints, and solid organs like the liver appear to be in good condition. The abdomen has the appearance of a hollow organ filled with air, liquid, or solids.

Origin of Percussion Medicine

The percussion was first used to discern between empty and filled barrels of wine, and Dr. Leopold Auenbrugger is credited with introducing the technique to contemporary medicine, however, Avicenna employed percussion over the stomach to illustrate how full it is and to distinguish between ascites and tympanites roughly 1000 years before that.

Types of Percussion

Direct percussion, which employs only one or two fingers, and indirect percussion, which uses the middle/flexor finger, are the two styles of percussion. Percussion sounds are classified as resonant, hyper-resonant, stone dull, or dull. The presence of a solid mass beneath the surface is indicated by a dull sound. Hollow, air-containing structures are indicated by a more resonant sound. They produce varied sensations in the pleximeter finger as well as different sounds that can be heard.

Procedure Percussion

Place your non-dominant middle and index fingers directly on the patient's skin, and firmly press your distal interphalangeal joints onto the patient's chest. With your dominant middle finger, tap the middle finger of your non-dominant hand (firmly placed on the patient's chest) at the level of the distal interphalangeal joint. A rapid flick of the wrist is the greatest way to achieve a good blow on the finger.

Sequence to Be Followed

Percuss on the posterior chest wall; either side of the midclavicular line in the interspaces at 5cm intervals with the patient in an upright seated position with the scapulae protracted. Percussion should be done from top to bottom and side to side (omitting areas covered by the scapulae). Carry on with the front of the chest in the same manner.

Normal, dull, and hyper resonant percussion sounds should all be classified as such. As part of the objective respiratory examination, the location and quality of percussive sounds should be observed and recorded.

Uses of Percussion in the Medical Field

It is used to diagnose disorders like pneumothorax, emphysema, and others. It can be used to determine the thorax's respiratory mobility. It's utilized to see if any organs are swollen and other things like that (assessing for organomegaly). It works on the idea of vibrating tissue and the spaces between it. The sound produced is used to detect whether the tissue is healthy or diseased.

To facilitate diagnosis and inform treatment, a thorough respiratory examination needs various elements of objective examinations. When combined with other procedures such as auscultation, palpation, and imaging, percussion plays a critical part in such an examination. Percussion creates audible noises that can be interpreted by a trained tester to determine if there is fluid, air, or solid material present within the chest cavity.

Advantages of Percussion

  • Percussion combined with Postural drainage may help with secretion clearance and treatment time.

  • The beat soothes and relaxes young toddlers and newborns, who are drugged by percussion.

  • In individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, it is effective.

  • Mechanical percussion alleviates caregiver fatigue and is effective when a patient requires home treatment.

  • It is less expensive to use mechanical devices to administer percussion than it is to use a caretaker or health care practitioner.

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FAQs on Percussion

1. How is Percussion Formed?

Ans: Percussion meaning in medical terms can be described as a way of tapping on a surface to discover the underlying structures, and it is used in clinical tests to determine the status of the thorax and abdomen. It's used to figure out things like body organ size, consistency, and borders. The presence or absence of fluid in various parts of the body. Percussion is a technique in which the examiner makes noises by tapping on the patient's chest wall. Tapping on the chest wall produces noises according to the amount of air in the lungs, just like lightly tapping on a container with your hands generates various noises.

2. Can one Do Chest Percussion on their Own?

Ans: It's suitable for people of all ages and can be performed at home, in a hospital, or a nursing home. Postural drainage is frequently performed in conjunction with percussion, often known as clapping, which entails someone clapping on your back, chest, or sides with a cupped hand to loosen mucus from the lungs.

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