Anatomical terms

growinupfast

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Hey people, new to the forum and ive got a question regarding a couple of anatomical terms that i cant quite get down. What exactly does proximal/distal infer? It explains it in my book, but even then its not very clear to me. Thanks
 

medichopeful

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Hey people, new to the forum and ive got a question regarding a couple of anatomical terms that i cant quite get down. What exactly does proximal/distal infer? It explains it in my book, but even then its not very clear to me. Thanks

Distal: think "distant" (far away)
Proximal: Think "proximity" (close)

Here's a little drawing with a reference point that may help, though probably not:

(Point of reference)--------------(Proximal)----------------(Distal)

If you hold your hand palm down and look at your fingers, the distal phalanges are those which are farthest away from the center of your hand. The medial phalanges are in the middle, and the proximal phalanges are closer to the center, right above your knuckles.
 
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growinupfast

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I think i got it. So lets say your shoulder is 'proximal' to your bicep but 'distal' to your elbow?

In the EMT class im currently taking we went over antatomical terms loooong ago, and i dunno if i just plain wasent listening when the instructor went over this or what the deal was but we had an exam a few days ago and i saw a question regarding it and i was like '..tha hell is proximal mean?' :p
 

wyoskibum

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What exactly does proximal/distal infer?

Here are the official definitions:

Proximal: Toward the beginning, as opposed to distal.
Distal: Further from the beginning, as opposed to proximal.

These terms are useful for communicating conditions or injuries when giving report or in your patient documentation.

IE: The shoulder is proximal to the elbow and the wrist is distal to the elbow.
 

medichopeful

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I think i got it. So lets say your shoulder is 'proximal' to your bicep but 'distal' to your elbow?

In the EMT class im currently taking we went over antatomical terms loooong ago, and i dunno if i just plain wasent listening when the instructor went over this or what the deal was but we had an exam a few days ago and i saw a question regarding it and i was like '..tha hell is proximal mean?' :p

Technically, I believe that is correct (but don't take that as gospel, as the only training I have as of now is self-taught).

If you can't remember what "proximal" means, just think of the word "proximity."
 

Linuss

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I think i got it. So lets say your shoulder is 'proximal' to your bicep but 'distal' to your elbow?

?' :p

No.

You use distal and proximal by noting the point of origin, and in this case the arm starts on the trunk and not the wrist. Therefor, tge shoulder is proximal to the trunk when compared to the bicep and elbow.


We're required to do a bit more in depth more medic, such as cephalic, coronal, sagital , axillary etc etc
 

medichopeful

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No.

You use distal and proximal by noting the point of origin, and in this case the arm starts on the trunk and not the wrist. Therefor, tge shoulder is proximal to the trunk when compared to the bicep and elbow.


We're required to do a bit more in depth more medic, such as cephalic, coronal, sagital , axillary etc etc

Told you you shouldn't take what I said as gospel! :p
 
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growinupfast

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No.

You use distal and proximal by noting the point of origin, and in this case the arm starts on the trunk and not the wrist. Therefor, tge shoulder is proximal to the trunk when compared to the bicep and elbow.


We're required to do a bit more in depth more medic, such as cephalic, coronal, sagital , axillary etc etc


what is the 'trunk'?
 
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growinupfast

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That helps alot. The book mentioned the trunk as well, but gave absolutly no definition to what it was.
 

Lifeguards For Life

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I think i got it. So lets say your shoulder is 'proximal' to your bicep but 'distal' to your elbow?

In the EMT class im currently taking we went over antatomical terms loooong ago, and i dunno if i just plain wasent listening when the instructor went over this or what the deal was but we had an exam a few days ago and i saw a question regarding it and i was like '..tha hell is proximal mean?' :p

no, distal is further away from the point of attachment, and proximal is closer to the point of attachment. your biceps are distal to your shoulder, and are proximal to you elbow. the diagram done by hopefull looked to represent a pretty clear illustration
 

VCEMT

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I'm bored, here some extras:

Anterior: The belly side

Posterior: The back or behind

Cranial: Towards the head

Cephalic: Same as cranial

Superior: Above, at a higher level

Caudal: Toward the tail(coccyx)

Inferior: Below, at a lower level

Medial: Toward the midline(The longitudinal axis of the body)

Lateral: Away from the midline

Proximal: Toward an attached base

Distal: Away from an attached base

Superficial: At, near, or relatively close to the body surface

Deep: Toward the interior of the body; farther from the surface

Sagittal: Right and left sections of the body, cut in half

Frontal: Anterior and Posterior sections of the body, cut in half

Transverse: Top and bottom, cut in half
 

EMTinNEPA

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If you have trouble with remembering the trunk, just think... where is the trunk of a tree?
 

RescueYou

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I think i got it. So lets say your shoulder is 'proximal' to your bicep but 'distal' to your elbow?


no. biceps are distal to your shoulder, proximal to your elbow. your bicep is closer to your elbow than it is your shoulder...(this is just one of those examples where you have to know specifically where the bicep muscle begins/ends and what is technically considered the "shoulder.")
 
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Brandon O

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no. biceps are distal to your shoulder, proximal to your elbow. your bicep is closer to your elbow than it is your shoulder...(this is just one of those examples where you have to know specifically where the bicep muscle begins/ends and what is technically considered the "shoulder.")

It is unrelated to their respective proximity to the bicep. "Proximal" does not mean "near," it means "nearer to the origin," where the origin is the trunk; the reverse is true for "distal." These are relative terms only, and relative to the trunk, not to other locations on the limb.

For instance, my thumb is located very NEAR to my wrist, and relatively far from my elbow. Does that mean that it's proximal to the wrist and distal to the elbow? No, it's distal to both -- because it's "downstream" (downlimb?) of both.
 

RescueYou

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Oh goodness

Okay. I don't know what if what I've said or if what anyone's said has made any sense or is correct, but this is a quote from my EMT-B book:

"The terms proximal and distal are relative terms. Proximal means closer to the torso (the trunk of the body, or the body without the head and the extremities). Distal means farther away from the torso. For example, think of an elbow. It is proximal to the hand, because it is closer to the torso than the hand. The elbow is also distal to the shoulder, since the elbow is farther away from the torso than the shoulder. The terms are usually used when describing locations on extremities. For example, to be sure circulation has not been cut off after splinting an arm or leg, you must feel for a distal pulse. This is a pulse not found in an extremity, a pulse point that is farther away from the torso than the splint."

That is word for word from the Brady 11th Edition Emergency Care book by Daniel Limmer and Michael F. O'Keefe...Chapter 4, page 67.
 

BossyCow

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Your bicep is proximal to the elbow and the elbow is distal to the bicep. So if someone has an injury to the bicep, it could be described as a lac to the upper arm proximal to the elbow or distal to the shoulder.

Remember, if you are going to use these terms, know what they mean. It's a lot less embarrassing to use regular english and give an accurate depiction of where the injuries are, than to toss in a bunch of medical terms that obfuscate. Remember always eschew obfuscation!
 

JPINFV

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One thing to remember with anatomical terms is that the terms are always used in relation to the limb being in anatomical position. Just because an arm is pronated doesn't change what part of the arm is anterior and what part is posterior.
 

RescueYou

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Remember, if you are going to use these terms, know what they mean. It's a lot less embarrassing to use regular english and give an accurate depiction of where the injuries are, than to toss in a bunch of medical terms that obfuscate.

Anybody with years of experience in the EMS field knows many complicated terms that are rarely used. I personally prefer plain english as opposed to medical terminology unless it's something you may not want your pt or their family to hear/understand quite yet. Regular english is so much faster to use and probies don't have to stop and think to try and figure out what you just said while administering care.
 

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