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PostLabister on 2nd November 2012, 2:21 pm

Although health providers have varying approaches as to the sequence of body parts, a systematic examination generally starts at the head and finishes at the toe. After the main organ systems have been investigated by inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation, specific test may follow (such as neurological investigation, orthopeadic examination) or specific test when a particular disease is suspected (e.g. eliciting trousseau’s sign in hypocalcaemia). With the clues obtained during the history and physical examination, the healthcare provider can now formulate a differential diagnosis with a list of potential causes of the symptoms.

In practice, the vital signs of temperature, pulse, respiration and blood pressure are usually measured first to give a clue to the underlying cause of the symptoms and also to serve as a baseline data. Also in physical examination, the physician’s assistant (who is usually a Nurse) measures the patient’s/ client’s weight and height and takes down the age too. The test for physical health is based on the patient’s medical history and Doctors recommendation.

A physical assessment is conducted to confirm information obtained from the health history, to establish patient current or baseline condition and in subsequent assessment to evaluate the patient response to treatment.

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