Liver scratch test

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The Liver scratch test is a method medical professionals use in ascertaining the location and size of a patient's liver during a physical assessment. It is often used when other techniques, such as the hepatojugular reflux test either fail or are ineffective, most often due to abdominal distention or muscle tenseness. The Liver scratch test uses auscultation to detect the differences in sound transmission through the abdominal cavity over solid and hollow organs and spaces.[1]


After placing a stethoscope over the approximate location of a patient's liver, a medical professional will then scratch the skin of the patient's abdomen lightly, moving laterally along the liver border. When the liver is encountered, the scratching sound heard in the stethoscope will increase significantly. In this manner, the size and shape of a patient's liver can be ascertained.


  1. ^ Mosby's Guide to Physical Examination, 6th Edition, 2008, pages 545-547.