Abdominal girth is the measurement of the distance around the abdomen at a specific point. Measurement is most often made at the level of the belly button (navel). Abdominal girth is used to diagnose and monitor the following:
- Buildup of fluid in the abdomen, most often caused by liver failure or heart failure
- Buildup of intestinal gas, most often caused by blockage or obstruction in the intestines
Bray GA. Obesity. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 7.
Martin P. Approach to the patient with liver disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 146.
Abdominal girth measurement - illustration
The measurement of the abdominal girth may be helpful in diagnosing abdominal distention, which commonly results from intestinal gas. Increased abdominal girth may also indicate disease of the intestines or liver.
Abdominal girth measurement
Review Date: 8/14/2015
Reviewed By: Subodh K. Lal, MD, gastroenterologist at Gastrointestinal Specialists of Georgia, Austell, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team