Systemic BP is a function of circulating blood volume, cardiac output, and total peripheral vascular resistance. Important variables affecting an infant's BP include sodium and water balance, cardiac function, especially myocardial contractility, and neurohumoral factors.1

External devices that increase intraabdominal pressure such as abdominal binders,2 pneumatic trousers3,4 and manual abdominal compression5,6 also increase systemic BP, presumably by increasing venous return and intrathoracic pressure. Their benefit in improving cardiac output has been demonstrated during cardiopulmonary resuscitation.7,8

Because of these studies and the casual observation of an increase in BP in a newborn infant following abdominal palpation, we evaluated the effect of routine abdominal examination such as palpation of the liver, kidney, and bladder on systemic BP in the neonate.

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