A succussion splash describes the sound obtained by shaking an individual who has free fluid and air or gas in a hollow organ or body cavity.
It is usually elicited to confirm intestinal or pyloric obstruction due to pyloric stenosis or gastric carcinoma, but may also be heard with hydropneumothorax, a large hiatal hernia, or over a normal stomach.
To examine for this sign, gently shake the abdomen by holding either side of the pelvis. A positive test occurs when a splashing noise is heard, either with the naked ear, or with the aid of a stethoscope. The test is not valid if the patient has eaten or drunk fluid within the last three hours.
Last reviewed 01/2018