Renal Question #11


The nurse is caring for a client who just voided and states, “I feel like I never empty my bladder.” The nurse assesses the client’s bladder and elicits dullness by percussion. How will the nurse interpret the dullness by percussion over the bladder?


  1. Dullness over the bladder indicates enlarged kidney.
    • Rationale:
  2. Dullness over the bladder indicates ureteral obstruction.
    • Rationale:
  3. Dullness over the bladder indicates urinary distention and possible retention.
    • Rationale:
  4. Dullness over the bladder is a normal finding.
    • Rationale:



Dullness may indicate urinary distention or retention of urine. It may also be found in mid-term pregnancy, uterine abnormalities; however, the question and other answer selections suggest renal. Percussion is performed approximately 2 inches (5 cm) above symphysis pubis. Percussion is systematic toward the bladder’s base. Dullness is produced from fluid filled bladder (urine). B is incorrect since palpation was not over kidney. A distended bladder may indicate obstruction higher in the ureters but it is not possible to hone in on ureter area with only bladder percussion (and to determine the issue is in the ureters). Dullness over the bladder is not normal if the client had just voided. It may be present with a full bladder, but the question indicates the client just voided.

Learning Outcomes

Test Taking Tip

Video Rationale