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JKM > Volume 37(3); 2016 > Article
Kim, Park, and Kim: Review of Research Topics on Abdominal Examination



The abdominal examination is a diagnosis method for determining a morbid condition of the chest and abdomen by touching and pressing. This study reviewed research trends concerning the abdominal examination and suggested of future research directions for quantification of abdominal examination.


A systematic literature search was carried out for relevant articles published between 2000 and 2016 in five databases such as Korean studies Information Service System(KISS), Oriental Medicine Advanced Searching Integrated System(OASIS), DataBase Periodical Information Academic (DBpia), National Digital Science Library and PubMed based on the Keywords ‘abdominal examination’.


128 articles were collected for analysis. Overview on the abdominal examination based on selected 17 articles. Then selected articles have been reclassified by diseases of clinical research and parameters for diagnosis of abdominal examination.


Taken together, instrument for quantitative evaluation of abdomen characteristic fit to the traditional Korean Medicine have not yet developed. It is suggested that in order to dominate the market about abdominal examination in advance, more concern should be paid to establishing appropriate development of quantitative criteria and instrument. This review will help researcher to systematically understand and to develop Korean medical device as globally competitive device.

Table 1
First-run Rough-search Results with Keywords ‘abdominal Examination’
Database No. of studies
Korean studies Information Service System (KISS) 187
Oriental medicine Advanced Searching Integrated System (OASIS) 185
DataBase Periodical Information Academic (DBpia) 197
National Digital Science Library (NDSL) 36
PubMed 95
Total 702
Table 2
Number of Selected Articles Categorized by Diseases.
Disease No. of studies (%)
Functional dyspepsia 7 (41.18)
Chronic low back pain 1 (5.88)
Leukorrhea 1 (5.88)
Dam Hun (痰暈) 1 (5.88)
Male infertility 1 (5.88)
Liver Qi stagnation 1 (5.88)
Dysmenorrhea 1 (5.88)
Irritable bowel syndrome 2 (11.76)
Burning mouth syndrome 1 (5.88)
Healthy subject 1 (5.88)
Total 17
Table 3
Selected Diagnosis Parameters.
Diagnosis parameter Diagnostic technique
Tension of abdominal muscles Analysis of abdomen biosignal (EMG, etc.)
Cold-heat (寒熱) of abdominal skin Abdomen temperature and color
Form and color of abdomen Shape analysis using abdomen image
Rate and location of abdominal pain Measurement of abdomen pain
Table 4
Number of Selected Articles Categorized by Research Field.
Diagnosis parameter No. of studies
Tension of abdominal muscles 4
Cold-heat (寒熱) of abdominal skin 6
Form and color of abdomen 2
Rate and location of abdominal pain 5
Total 17
Table 5
Summary of research results.
Category Authorref)(Year) Subjects (patient/control) Disease Device Primary outcome
Tension of abdominal muscles Hong8) (2008) 182/- FD ES-120, EnteroTach Bowel Sound Analysis Software Bowel Sound
Jung9)(2008) 11/10 Chronic low back pain LXM3208-RF EMG result
Kim10)(2012) 39/- FD GastroTrac, SA-6000
Ryu11)(2004) 93/10 FD EGG (UK) EGG result
Cold-heat (寒熱) of abdominal skin Ahn12)(2012) 42/42 Leukorrhea T-1000 AT
Jeong13)(2008) 22/22 FD DTI-16UTI AT
Song14)(2006) 63/34 Dam Hun IRIS5000 AT
Wee15)(2005) 30/- Male infertility DITI-16UTI AT
Choi16)(2002) 76/12 Liver Qi stagnation DITI (UK) AT
Kim17)(2001) 50/50 Dysmenorrhea DITI 256 AT
Form and color of abdomen Son18)(2014) 60/- FD Plastic tapeline (UK) Sterno-costal angle
Ahn19)(2013) -/48 Healthy subject Plastic tapeline (UK) Truncus length
Abdominal pain Ko20)(2016) 43/- FD Wagner FPK20® PPT
Ko21)(2016) 21/12 FD Wagner FPK20® PPT
Ko7)(2012) 40/- IBS Algometer (UK) PPT
Kang22)(2012) 30/- Burning mouth syndrome Algometer (UK) PPT
Ko23)(2011) 28/- IBS Algometer (UK) PPT

FD: Functional dyspepsia; IBS: Irritable bowel syndrome; EMG: Electromyography; EGG: Electrogastrography; AT: Abdomen temperature; PPT: Pressure pain threshold; UK: Product name unknown.


1. Kim JH, Park SJ, Son HC, Lee KN. Historical study of abdominal examination. The Korean academy of medical gigong. 2002; 6:1. 111–127.

2. Lee JH, Kim JK, Yoon CY. The Study on the Historical Expansion Process And the Method of the Abdominal Diagnostics. The Journal Of The Korea Institute Of Oriental Medical Diagnostics. 2000; 4:1. 69–82.

3. Seo SH, Yim HJ, Jung IC, Lee SR. The clinical study on 1 case of Patient with Tremor by Bok-Jin. Daejeon university journal of the institute of oriental medicine. 2007; 16:1. 69–79.

4. Lee BK, Park YB, Kim TH. Korean Medicine Diagnostics. Seoul: Seongbosa;2009. p. 280–281.

5. Lee HJ. A development of the quantitative indicator of abdominal examination for clinical application: pilot study[master degree dissertation]. Seoul: Kyung Hee Univ;2013.

6. World Health Organization. WHO International Standard Terminologies on Traditional Medicine in the Western Pacific Region. World Health Organization;2007. 356.

7. Ko SJ, Kim JS, Ryu BH, Han GJ, Kim SK, Park JW. Clinical Study on association between abdominal symptoms and pressure pain threshold in the treatment for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea -In the view of quantification of the oriental abdominal diagnostics. Korean Journal Orient Int Med. 2012; fall:0. 93–102.

8. Hong IA, Yoon SH. A Study of Gastrointestinal Parasympathetic Nerve Activity and Pyloric Valve Function, and Clinical Characteristerics in Patients with Functional Dyspepsia - Analysis of Bowel Sound. Korean Journal Orient Int Med. 2008; 29:3. 666–674.

9. Jung JY, Lee JH, Nam KB, Kin SS. Meridian Electromyograph Analysis on Features of Abdominal Muscles in Chronic Low Back Pain Patients. J Oriental Rehab Med. 2008; 18:4. 203–215.

10. Kim SY, Han CW, Park SH, Kwon JN, Lee I, Hong JW, et al. Correlation Study between Electrogastrography and Heart Rate Variability in Dyspeptic Patients. Korean J Oriental Physiology & Pathology. 2012; 26:4. 532–539.

11. Ryu JM, Yoon SH, Lim JH, Han SY, Jang SY, Kim HK, et al. The Usefulness of Electrogastrography on the Differential Diagnosis of Deficiency or Excess Condition in Patients with Functional Dyspepsia. Korean Journal Orient Int Med. 2004; 25:4. 346–355.

12. Ahn JY, Choi SK, Hwang DS, Lee JM, Jang JB, Lee KS, et al. A Retrospective Cross-sectional Study on Leukorrhea in Relation with Lower Abdomen Temperature and Physical Symptoms. J Korean Obstet Gynecol. 2013; 26:3. 93–102.

13. Jeong SH, Im IH, Um EJ, Lee BJ, Na BJ. Investigation on evaluation of functional dyspepsia by using Digital Infrared Thermal Images. J of Oriental Medical Thermology. 2008; 6:1. 56–62.

14. Song KK, Park MY, Choi HY, Kim JD. Clinical Evaluation and The Diagnositic Significances of Disital Infrared Thermal Image(D.I.T.I.) on the Patients of Dam Hun(痰暈). Korean J Oriental Physiology & Pathology. 2006; 20:2. 488–493.

15. Wee HS, Lee CH, Cho JH, Jang JB, Lee KS. A Study on Abdominal Temperature of Male Infertility Patients. J of Oriental Medical Thermology. 2005; 4:1. 23–28.

16. Choi JE, Kim RS, Cho JH, Jang JB, Lee KS. DITI of the Abdomen on Liver Qi Stagnation Patients. J of Oriental Medical Thermology. 2002; 1:1. 20–27.

17. Kim HW, Kim YS, Lee KS. DITI of the Abdomen on twenties’ Dysmenorrhea Patients. J of Oriental Medical Thermology. 2001; 14:1. 311–318.

18. Son JY, Kim JS. Diagnostic Values of Tongue Coating Thickness and Sterno-costal Angle in Functional Dyspepsia. Korean Journal Orient Int Med. 2014; 35:2. 157–174.

19. Ahn JS, Park SK, Yu JS. Relationship between Sasang Constitution and Length of Chest and Abdominal Region. Korean Journal of Acupuncture. 2013; 30:2. 131–134.

20. Ko SJ, Kim H, Kim SK, Park K, Lee J, Lee BJ, et al. Reliability and Validity of Modified Algometer in Abdominal Examination. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016; 2016:305295410.1155/2016/3052954

21. Ko SJ, Lee H, Kim SK, Kim M, Kim J, Lee BJ, et al. Development of the quantitative indicator of abdominal examination for clinical application: a pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2015; 21:6. 358–363. 10.1089/acm.2014.0185

22. Kang K, Kim JS, Seon JK, Son JH, Kim JY, Jang SW, et al. Correlation between Qi-Stagnation and Pressure Pain Threshold on CV17 (Danzhong : 膻中) in Burning Mouth Syndrome Patients - In the Perspective of Quantification of Pressure Pain Threshold on CV17 by using Algometer. Korean Journal Orient Int Med. 2012; 33:4. 498–510.

23. Ko SJ, Kim JS, Ryu BH, Park JW. Clinical Study on application of algometer to irritable bowel syndrome -In the view of quantification of the oriental abdominal diagnostics. Korean Journal Orient Int Med. 2011; 10:fall. 173–181.

24. Joh KH, Toshiaki K, Katsutoshi T, Moon SK, Ko CN, Kim YS, et al. An Introduction Of Abdominal Palpation Signs In Japanese Oriental Medicine. Korean Journal Orient Int Med. 1997; 18:1. 86–96.

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