Carnett’s Sign – Abdominal Assessment
Carnett’s sign is recognised in medicine and paramedicine as a method of determining the likelihood that the abdominal wall is the primary source of the pain and not the internal organs or viscera. To perform a Carnett’s test a clinician should ask the supine patient to lift his or her legs off the bed (alternatively, you can ask him or her to lift their head or shoulders off the bed). A positive Carnett’s sign is identified when the patient acute abdominal pain remains unchanged or in some cases worsens during the test. If the abdominal pain decreases during the test, it is more likely that the patient has organ or visceral pain, and not abdominal muscle sheath damage.
What are some conditions that a positive Carnett’s sign may indicate?
Positive Carnett’s Sign may indicate medical conditions such as:
1. Abdominal Hernia;
2. Abdominal wall haematoma; and
3. Rib Tip Syndrome (in which the lower rib tips are hyper-flexed causing referred pain into the intra-abdominal region.
Want to know more about abdominal assessments? Please review my Abdominal Pain Assessment page.