Signs in medicine



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SIGNS IN MEDICINE 
 
  SIGNS   IN   MEDICINE 
 
(A)
- Aaron’s sign seen in appendicitis. On firm pressure over the McBurney’s point 
the patient with appendicitis will feel distress in the epigastrium or 
precordial region.

- Abadie’sign -– This is the test of Muscle sense .Compress or squeeze big 
muscle bellies (calf,` triceps or biceps)and note whether the patient complains 
of pain (Abadie’sign ).This is the test of pressure sense too.

- Adler’s sign- Is seen in Ectopic pregnancy .The abdominal tenderness is fixed 
,even  when the patient is turned from side to side.

- Albright sign-Metacarpels are shortened in pseudohypoparathyroidism ,  nevoid 
basal cell carcinoma ,turner and  Larsen .In the presence of short fourth 
metacarpal ,there will be a dimple at the metacarpophalangeal joint.

- Alfred Demusset sign- Bobbing of the head with each heart beat. The rapid 
blood flow in the carotids will push the head with each beat, thus leading to 
movement of head up and down with each heart beat.

- Allis sign- is seen in developmental dysplasia.

- Arm drop sign- sign suggestive of complete tear of the rotator cuff.

- Antenna sign- seen in Keratosis pilaris

- Anterior drawer sign-(Bon bruise sign)  for anterior cruciate ligament tear. 
It  is used to diagnose rupture of the cruciate ligaments .The knee should be 
flexed at a right angle and the upper part of the tibia is pulled forward and 
pushed backward. Increased anterior and posterior movements will indicate the 
rupture of cruciate ligaments.

- Asboe Hansen sign- (Bulla spread sign) – seen in Pemphigus

- Auenbrugger’s sign-In pericardial effusion ,an epigastric prominence is seen.

- Auspitz’s  sign-When the scales of Psoriasis are removed ,pin point bleeding 
spots will be seen .
(B) 

- Babinski’s sign- By stroking the lateral aspect of the dorsum of the foot. 
There is contraction of tibialis anterior, hamstrings, and tensor fascia lata.

- Baccelli’s sign-Good conduction of whisper  in non purulent pleural effusion.

- Ball’s sign- is seen in fetal death .There will be hyperflexion of the spine.

- Ballance sign-The dullness can be elicited on  both sides in rupture of spleen 
.On the right side there will be shift of the dullness ,but it is constant on 
the left side.

- Ballentyne-Runge sign - Decrease in the abdominal circumference  late in 
pregnancy due to placental insufficiency 

- Banana sign –the frontal lobes  will be concave .This is due to neural tube 
defects

- Barber’s  chair sign in multiple sclerosis. An electric shock like sensation 
which radiates in to the arms., down the back to the legs, when the patient 
flexes the head..

- .Barlow’s  sign- Von Rosen’s  sign In congenital instability of the hip joint 
the  hips are held  flexed and  abducted , A click can be heard when the femoral 
head  leaves the acetabulum

- Bastedo’s sign seen in  chronic appendicitis. On inflation of the colon with 
air ,pain and tenderness will be present in the right iliac fossa.

-  Battle’s sign-blood pigment stain behind the ear over the mastoid due to 
basal skull fracture (Sphenoid bone )

- Beak sign - in patients with Hypertrophic pyloric stenosis. ,abrupt cut of the 
barium column in the pylorus.

- Beak sign in renal arteriogram-Renal cyst.

- Becker's sign - Pulsations seen in the retinal artery.

- Beevor’s sign-in patients with paralysis of lower part of  rectus abdominis  
the umbilicus will move upwards when the rising test is performed. The umbilicus 
will move downwards in  paralysis of upper part of rectus abdominis  

- Beheaded scottish terrior sign- Spondylolisthesis.(In oblique view)

- Belly dancer’s sign-  It is seen in unilateral diaphragmatic paralysis .During 
inspiration the umbilicus shifts upward and toward the side of the paralysed 
diaphragm

- Benda’s sign- This is of importance in tuberculous meningitis.  Here the child 
has spasm of the trapezius muscle with the result that the shoulder on affected 
side is raised up and at times also brought forward.  The sign is elicited by 
turning the head and chin to one side and if there is upward and forward lifting 
of the shoulder the sign is positive.  It may be positive on one or both sides.

- Bergara –Warten Berg sign-Loss of vibration on elevation of the closed upper 
eyelid. It is the earliest sign of facial nerve paralysis.

-Bergman sign (Chalice sign)-is a finding in renal imaging studies where there 
is          dilatation of ureter distal to a neoplasm. Such dilatation will be 
absent in calculus or thrombus.

- Bing sign – Pricking the dorsum of foot by a pin produces extensor response.

-Blue berry muffin sign- is seen in dermal metastases of Neuroblastoma .There 
will be raised purple skin lesions.

- Blue dot sign-is seen in torsion of appendix testis .The appendix that has 
undergone torsion may be visible through the scrotal skin.

- Blumberg’s sign – Rebound tenderness. It is seen in acute appendicitis.

- Boas sign- is helpful in differentiating acute cholecystitis from other 
conditions. In acute cholecystitis there is a referred pain to the right 
scapula. There is an area of hyperaesthesia  between the ninth and the eleventh 
ribs posteriorly on the right side..

- Bow’s sign-Seen in septicemia in infants. The right side of the mediastinal 
shadow resembles a bow.

- Bow string sign-is used in lumbar disc herniation. It is a variation of 
straight leg raising test. When the leg is raised pain will occur. At the point 
of pain, the knee will be flexed which will reduce the pain.

- Branham’s sign- (see Nicoladoni’s sign) is seen in aretrio venous fistula .The 
swelling due to arteriovenous fistula disappears on applying pressure on the 
artery proximal to the fistula, thrill and bruit will decrease and the pulse 
rate fall .the pulse pressure will return to normal.

- Brim sign- is seen in Paget’s  disease.

- Braxton –Hick’s sign-Intermittent uterine contractions  can be detected by 
palpation after 16 weeks of gestation in pregnancy.

- Brudzinski’s sign  is seen in meningitis
 Flexion of one lower limb causes flexion of opposite limb immediately.  It is 
the leg sign.
 Flexion of neck produces flexion of hips and knees.  This is the neck sign.
(Brudzinski’s neck Sign-Both the lower limbs should be in extended position, 
with full flexion of the neck, the child flexes both his lower limbs, at the 
hips as well as knees.  This is a common sign of meningitis in infancy.  There 
may be minimum flexion of the lower limbs when the child has paraplegia or 
quadriplegia; there is unilateral flexion of the unaffected limb.  This not only 
helps in the diagnosis of meningitis but also in the diagnosis of hemi paresis.
Brudzinski’s leg sign- Here one of the lower limbs is flexed to 45º at the hip 
and 90-120º at knee.  While trying to extend the lower limbs there is flexion of 
the opposite limb at the hip and knee.  This is a positive Brudzinski’s leg 
sign.  In children who are constantly moving the lower limbs,  particularly in 
the first 2-3 years of life, the test should be carried out 3 to 4 times before 
it is concluded as positive.  If a child has weakness or paralysis of the 
opposite limb there may be minimum flexion at the hip and knee.)

- Brun’s  sign- Excruciating headache , vertiginous episodes , coma and  death 
due to sudden movement of the head ,if the cysts are present in the fourth 
ventricle .

- Bryant’s sign-in shoulder dislocation .Abnormal position of axillary folds.

- Bulge sign- Small effusion in the knee joint. Apply gentle pressure first on 
the medial side of the joint when the patient is lying  with the quadriceps 
relaxed. Watch for the bulge on the lateral side.

-Button hole sign- is seen in Neurofibromatosis
 
(C) 

- Capener’s sign- is seen in slipped epiphysis .Normally, the posterior 
acetabular margin will cut across the medial corner of the metaphysis. In this 
condition the entire metaphysis will remain lateral to the posterior acetabular 
margin.

- Cardarelli’s sign- transverse pulsation in the laryngotracheal tube  in 
aneurysms and dilatation of the aortic arch.

- Carman’s Meniscus sign- A radiological finding  seen in malignant gastric 
ulcer. Meniscus shaped gastric ulcer with the concavity pointed towards the 
gastric lumen

-  Carpet tack’s sign- is seen in Discoid Lupus Erythematosis (DLE)

- Carvallo’s sign- In cases with ASD, the tricuspid murmur is maximal at the 
lower sternal edge and increases in intensity during inspiration

-  Cerebriform tongue sign-is seen in Pemphigus vegetans

-  Chaddock’s sign –seen in pyramidal tract lesion. Extensor response is seen 
after striking the skin around the lateral malleolus in a circular fashion.

-  Champagne flute sign-due to portal air in NNEC.

-  Chandelier’s sign-is seen in Gonorrhoea in women

- Circumflex`sign-the metaphysis have some flaring and may appear V-shaped in 
achondroplasia. 

- Chvostek’s sign -The facial nerve is tapped at its exit from the stylomastoid 
foramen. This leads to brief twitching of the facial muscles, ala of the nose 
and the blinking of the eyelids. .Elevation of the corner of mouth may b e seen.

- Coffee bean sign- Strangulation of incompletely obstructed loop of small 
bowel.

- Coin test-is found in tense Pneumothorax.  Place a metallic coin on the upper 
part of the affected chest, and percuss over the coin with another coin. Listen 
at the same time from the back with the diaphragm of a stethoscope. A high 
pitched tympanitic bell-like metallic sound can be heard in the presence of 
Pneumothorax.

- Coleman’s sign- Hematoma over the floor of the mouth in fracture of body of 
mandible.

- Comby’s sign-is seen in measles. In early stages thin whitish patches are seen 
on the gums and buccal mucous membranes.

- Commando’s sign-in spastic cerebral palsy the child drags the feet like a 
rudder.

- Cooper’s sign- In acute appendicitis, the tenderness is elicited in the left 
lateral position.

- Corner’s sign- seen in scurvy. A groove will be present just above the zone of 
provisional calcification.

- Corrigan's sign - Dancing carotids in aortic regurgitation..

- Counting sign-in diaphragmatic paralysis ,the patient cannot count more than 
10 in one breath.

- Coup’d’ongue sign- Tinea versicolor.

- Courvoisier sign- Gall bladder will be palpable in patients with carcinoma 
head of the pancreas.

- Crack –pot sign- see Macewen sign

- Crescent sign-In hydronephrosis, crescents of contrast medium seen with in the 

enlarged renal parenchyma. This is due to the contrast medium circulating in the 
collecting ducts compressed by the dilated calyces.

- Crowe’s sign –In neurofibromatosis , axillary freckling and speckled 
hyperpigmentation over the upper chest ,groin and perineal region will be 
present .

-  Cruveilhier s sign-is seen in portal hypertension. Caput medusa due to 
portocaval anastomosis.

- Cullen sign-A bluish discoloration seen around the umbilicus in patients with 
acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis.

- Curtsy sign is seen in Sham or Urge syndrome

- Czerny’s sign-The abdomen normally bulges at the beginning of inspiration.  
But in patients with chorea, there is paradoxical retraction..
 
(D)

- Dagger sign-is due to ossification of supraspinous and interspinous ligaments  
in Ankylosing spondylitis . On frontal radiograph  a single radio dense line 
will be seen.

- Dance sign- in intussusception. The right lower quadrant  may feel empty to 
palpation  in intussusception.

- Darier sign- Urticaria pigmentosa. The lesions tend to become red, itchy and 
urticarial if they are rubbed.

- Dalrymple  sign-(Lid retraction) Staring appearance due to abnormal widening 
of palpebral fissures  in hyperthyroidism

- Dawbarn’s sign- seen in subacromial bursitis .The pain in this condition will 
disappear on abduction of the arm.

- Dawson’s sign-Palmar erythema in cirrhosis of liver

- De Dance sign-The Signe de Dance – A feeling of emptiness in the right iliac 
fossa in acute intussusception.

- D Espine’s sign-A large mediastinal node or a mass in Bronchogenic carcinoma 
may transmit the tracheal sound .This can result in bronchial breath sound, 
whispering pectoriloquy and rarely egophony in the inter scapular region.(Below 
D4)

- Delbet’s sign-in aneurysm of limb’s main artery .

- Demusset sign-See Alfred Demusset sign

- Deuel’s halo sign- This is x-ray finding in intrauterine death. The usual zone 
of reduced density visible around the head of relatively mature fetus before 
delivery appears to be separated from the cranium .The density of this zone will 
be similar to that of the soft tissues. This can be demonstrated radiologically 
within 3 days after the death of fetus.

- Dimple sign- Cart-Wheel pattern of fibroblast seen in Dermatofibrosarcoma 
protuberans.

- Dimple sign(Fitzpatrick sign) in Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans.

- Dock’s sign-  Rib notching in corctation of aorta.

- Dog’s ear sign-in ascites .Radiodensity superior and lateral to the bladder 

- Double bubble sign-is seen in the following conditions
Duodenal atresia, 
Annular pancreas, 
Duodenal stenosis 

- Double duct sign  in ERCP- Carcinoma pancreas 

- Drawer sign- see Anterior drawer sign-(Bon bruise sign)  

- Dressler’s sign-Dull note in the lower part of sternum in pericardial 
effusion.

- Drooping lily sign- is seen in renal pelvis with duplicated collecting system.

- Dubois sign- Short little finger in congenital syphilis.

- Duga’s sign-is seen in fresh shoulder dislocation . The patient will not be 
able to put the  hand to the opposite shoulder with the elbow close to the body 
.

- Duroziez’s sign- diastolic murmur heard on the femoral artery on distal 
compression.
(E)

- Emptying sign in straw berry angioma

- Erb’s sign-seen in latent tetany. Muscular contractions can be produced by 
application of subthreshold electrical stimulation.

- Eye-of-the –tiger appearance- is a MRI finding in Hallevorden-Spatz disease

- Ewart’s sign- (Pin’s sign) Is seen in compression collapse of the basal 
segments due to large pericardial  effusion.. There will be dullness on 
percussion, increased vocal resonance, tubular breath sounds., increased vocal 
resonance. and bronchial breathing are  seen in cardiac tamponade  due to  
pericardial effusion.

- Ewing sign- pericardial sign 
(F)

- Faget’s sign- is seen in yellow fever. Relative bradycardia is present from 
the second day of the illness.

- Falling fragment sign-Solitary bone cyst.

- Fat pad sign-is seen in pericardial effusion .In normal persons the parietal 
pericardium is separated from the epicardial fat by about 1-2 mm. This is 
increased in pericardial effusion.

- Felson ‘s silhouette sign- any intrathoracic mass touching the heart ,aorta or 
diaphragm will obliterate that border on the chest X ray.

-  Fistula sign-  Pressure changes can be transmitted  to the membranous 
labyrinth if there is a fistula in the bony labyrinth. Pressing the tragus will 
induce jerk nystagmus.

- Fitzpatrick sign-in dermatofibroma .There will be dimpling when the mass is 
squeezed on both sides.

- Flag sign- Flag sign may be seen in Kwashiorkor. The hair will be alternately 
normal and depigmented. The hair in cases of severe malnutrition will be 
hypopigmented. As the nutrition improves the pigmentation of the hair will be 
normal. Hence the hair will be alternately normally pigmented and hypopigmented, 
giving the appearance of a flag

- Flank stripe sign- or McCort sign-in ascites. Increased distance (>2 cm) 
between the properitoneal fat stripe and the right colon.

- Floating membrane sign- Hydatid cyst 

- Floating teeth sign- in eosinophilic Granuloma.

- Flying’ W’ sign- the posterior mitral leaflet movement resembles the letter W. 
In partial systolic closure of the pulmonary valves there will be flying W sign 
.

- Football sign-In NNEC, the free air over the liver with outlining of the 
falciform ligament indicates perforation and needs surgical 
treatment.(Pneumoperitoneum)

- Forscheimer sign- Enanthem in rubella.

- Forester’s sign-In hypotonic or Atonic cerebral palsy, when the child is 
lifted by holding at the axilla ,there will be flexion at the hips.

- Frederick’s sign-Increased jugular venous pulse with sharp diastolic collapse. 
rapid ‘Y’descent in pericardial effusion.

- Froment’s sign-in ulnar nerve paresis , Ask the patient to grasp a book  
firmly between the thumb and the other fingers .In normal persons the thumb will 
be straight while holding the book . In patients with ulnar nerve palsy the 
terminal phalanx of the thumb will be flexed.

- Frostberg’s inverted 3 sign-Carcinoma head of pancreas.
(G )

- Galeazzi sign- is a check for apparent thigh length on both sides. There will 
be lowering of the knee on the affected side when the child lies prone with hip 
flexed and knee flexed..

- Gerhardt's sign - Pulsations over the spleen in aortic regurgitation.

- Goodell’s sign –Softening of cervix  and vagina  is a sign of pregnancy.

- Gonda sign – Extensor response is elicited after forceful stretching or 
snapping of distal phalanx of either of the 2nd or 4th toe.

- Gower’s sign- is seen in Duchenne muscular dystrophy ,.It will be evident by 3 
years of age and will be fully expressed by 5-6 years of age. Climbing upon his 
own body while getting up from sitting posture.

- Grasset’s sign in hemiplegia .When a patient with hemiplegia walk on heels, 
there will be abnormal movements of the hands on the same side of hemiparesis. 
The arms will come slightly in front, with elbow bent and not taking part in co 
movements. There will be inability to keep the fingers stretched and together.

- Grey Turner’s  sign-A bluish discoloration seen in the flanks in patients with 
acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis. 

- Griesinger’s sign- is seen in lateral sinus thrombosis. The thrombus may 
extend and result in indurated tender area over the upper part of the internal 
jugular vein and mastoid region.

- Groove sign- Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) The enlarged lymph nodes are seen 
both above and below the inguinal ligament.


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