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Topographical AnatomyIntroductionA working knowledge of human anatomy is important for you as an EMT. By using theproper medical terms, you will be able to communicate correct information to medicalprofessionals with the least possible confusion. At the same time, you need to be able tocommunicate with others who may or may not understand medical terms. Balancing thesetwo facets is one of the most challenging aspects of your job. A basic understanding ofhuman anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology is essential so that you can meet thesechallenges.We will begin with a discussion of topographic anatomy, or the landmarks on the surfaceof the body. The various parts of the body, or its anatomy, are then described. Thisinformation will provide you with the correct medical terms you will use in the field.Physiology, or the functions of the body or any of its parts, is also covered. Finally,pathophysiology is discussed, which describes how normal physiologic processes areaffected by disease.Topographic AnatomyThe surface of the body has many definite visible features that serve as guides orlandmarks to the structures that lie beneath them. You must be able to identify thesuperficial landmarks of the body - () – to perform an accurateassessment. But how do we know that everyone is looking at the body in the sameorientation?To accomplish this, the terms that are used to describe the topographic anatomy areapplied to the body when it is in theThis is a position of reference inwhich the patient stands facing you, arms at the side, with the palms of the hands forward.The anatomic position is used as a common starting point so that everyone is referring tothe body in the same way. For example, you are looking at a person who is complaining ofpain in his arm. Which left or right do you use? Your left or the patient’s left? To beconsistent, health care providers use the patient’s left or right as the reference point.

These terms describe the position of the body. The body is in the proneposition when lying face down; the body is in the supine position when lyingface up.

These terms describe the position of the body. The body is in the proneposition when lying face down; the body is in the supine position when lyingface up.

The Fowler’s positon was named after a US surgeon George R. Fowler, MD atthe end of the 19th century. Dr. Fowler placed his patients in a semi-recliningposition with the head elevated to help them breathe easier and to control theairway. A patient who is sitting up with the knees bent is therefore said tobeing the fowler’s position.

The recovery position refers to one of a series of variations on a lateralrecumbent or three-quarters prone position of the body, in to which anunconscious but breathing casualty can be placed as part of first aidtreatment.

AbductionFlexionExtensionAdductionThe following terms relate to movement; Flexion is the bending of a joint Extension is the straightening of a joint Adduction is motion towards the midline Abduction is motion away from the midline

Planes of the BodyThe anatomic planes of the body are imaginary straight lines that divide the body. Thereare three main axes of the body depending on how it is sliced. Slicing the body so that youhave a front and back portion creates the frontal or cornal plane. If the body is sliced so theresult is a top and bottom portion, this is reffered to as the transverse (axial) plane. If thebody is sliced so that you have a left and right portion, a sagittal (lateral) plane is formed.As part of your assessment process, you will have to palpate the abdomen and report yourfindings. You will need to describe exact locations based on Quadrants.FrontalVertical: splits thebody into front andback halves.TransverseHorizontal; splits the bodyinto upper and lower halves.SagittalVertical; splits the body intoleft and right halves.

Right Upper Quadrant – RUQ Right Lower Quadrant – RLQ Left Upper Quadrant - LUQ Left Lower Quadrant – LLQ

Directional TermsDistalWhen you are discussing where an injury is located or how pain radiates in the body, you need to knowthe correct directional terms. Take notice how directional terms are paired as “opposites.”

SUPERIOR & INFERIORThepart of the body, or any body part, is the portion nearer to the head from aspecific reference point. The part nearer to the feet is theportion. These terms arealso used to describe the relationship of one structure to another. For example; theabdomen is superior to the femur and inferior to the neck.LATERAL & MEDIALParts of the body that lie farther from the midline are called(outer) structures.The parts that lie closer to the midline are called(inner) structures. For example; inthe anatomical position, the ulna is medial to the radius.PROXIMAL & DISTALThe terms “proximal” and “distal” are used to describe the relationship of any twostructures on an extremity.describes structures that are closer to the trunk.describes structures that are farther from the trunk or nearer to the free end of theextremity. For example; the elbow is distal to the shoulder, and proximal to the wrist.PALMAR & PLANTARThe term “Palmar” refers to the “palm” surface of the hand. The term “Plantar” refers to thebottom of the foot.TRENDELENBURG “SHOCK” POSITIONTrendelenburg Position (also known as the shock position ) is a position of the bodyin which the patient is laid supine or flat on their back with the feet higher than the headby 15-30 degrees.

Topographical Anatomy A working knowledge of human anatomy is important for you as an EMT. By using the proper medical terms, you will be able to communicate correct information to medical professionals with the least possible confusion. At the same time, you need to be able to communicate with others who may or may not understand medical terms. Balancing these two facets is one of the most .

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