March 19, 2021

Appendicitis and the McBurneys point

  • by Clare Louise
  • 2 Months ago
  • 0

McBurney’s point is an area in the lower right-hand side of the abdomen. It’s the point in the body that’s most likely to feel tender in cases of acute appendicitis.

Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes painful, inflamed, swollen and infected. It’s a medical emergency, as without prompt treatment the appendix is likely to burst, potentially leading to life-threatening sepsis.

When a patient presents with symptoms of appendicitis fast, accurate diagnosis of the condition is essential. A physical examination of the McBurney’s point will need to be carried out in conjunction with lab tests and imaging.

McBurney’s point was named after Charles McBurney (1845-1913), a 19th-century New York surgeon who pioneered life-saving appendicitis diagnosis and treatment.


Where exactly is it?

McBurney’s point is situated two thirds the distance from the navel to the right hip bone (the anterior superior iliac spine). It’s located at about 3.8 to 5.1cm from the top of the hip bone towards the navel. This is the location of the base of the appendix, where it’s connected to the cecum, or the start of the large intestine. While the location of the appendix itself can vary slightly from patient to patient, this position, called the pelvic position, is the most common.

We cover this manoeuvre in more detail as part of our Five Day Patient Assessment Workshop Online course.


How do you test McBurney’s point?

To test McBurney’s point, ask the patient to lie on their back on an examination table. Then apply slow pressure over the McBurney’s point before quickly releasing. When pressure is released, any presence of severe pain is a strong indicator of acute appendicitis.


Do you regularly see children and adults presenting with suspected appendicitis?

Then the PDUK Five Day Patient Assessment Workshop Online course may well prove useful. Aimed specifically at all disciplines of nurses, physiotherapists, medical students, health visitors and other healthcare professionals it’s a very hands-on course with students required to have access to their own (or borrowed) examination equipment. Participants will also need to provide someone to act as their patient for examination practice (please make sure you read the Important Notes part of the course description carefully).

The 5-day course takes place entirely online and is worth 35 hours of CPD. The next course with available places runs on the 7th-11th of June inclusive, and a PDUK certificate of attendance will be issued to all participants to reflect days attended. 

This is always a popular course so make sure you secure your space today to avoid disappointment.

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