The diagnosis of acute intra-abdominal diseases has taxed the ability of the internist, pediatrician and surgeon alike. The literature on the subject is voluminous, but most writers have not stressed the signs which do not require the assistance of the laboratory. Any symptom that can be elicited at the bedside is a welcome aid to the diagnostic armamentarium.
The cutaneous abdominal reflexes have not received their proper place as a valuable aid in the diagnosis of acute intra-abdominal disease. The literature on this topic is scant. Most writers have dealt with hyperesthesia, but the contraction reflex has been singularly omitted. Smith1 is an outstanding exception. The neurologists, such as Monrad-Krohn2 and others, spoke of abdominal reflexes and did not include hyperesthesia, whereas, surgeons, such as Robinson,3 Logat4 and Cope,5 captioned their articles abdominal reflexes and described hyperesthesia of the skin, but failed to mention the