Abdominal guarding

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Abdominal guarding is the tensing of the abdominal wall muscles to guard inflamed organs within the abdomen from the pain of pressure upon them. The tensing is detected when the abdominal wall is pressed.[1] Abdominal guarding is also known as 'défense musculaire'.

Guarding is a characteristic finding in the physical examination for an abruptly painful abdomen (an acute abdomen) with inflammation of the inner abdominal (peritoneal) surface due, for example, to appendicitis or diverticulitis. The tensed muscles of the abdominal wall automatically go into spasm to keep the tender underlying tissues from being disturbed.[2]


Differential Diagnosis[edit]

Laboratory Findings[edit]

Electrolyte and Biomarker Studies[edit]

MRI and CT[edit]

Echocardiography or Ultrasound[edit]

Other Imaging Findings[edit]

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Surgery and Device Based Therapy[edit]


  1. ^ Abdominal guarding definition - Medical Dictionary definitions of popular medical terms easily defined on MedTerms
  2. ^ Abdominal Guarding - Abdominal Rigidity on Medicine Online Medical Articles