Acute Abdominal Pain: Diagnostic Impact of Immediate CT Scanning

Strömberg, Cecilia; Johansson, Gunnar; Adolfsson, Anders
December 2007
World Journal of Surgery;Dec2007, Vol. 31 Issue 12, p2347
Academic Journal
Acute abdominal pain is a common diagnostic problem. This study aimed to evaluate the routinely use of contrast enhanced computed tomographic (CT) scanning early in the diagnostic process. A retrospective review of 2,222 patients with acute abdominal pain who underwent contrast enhanced CT scanning within 24 h after admission. The diagnoses obtained were compared with the final diagnoses after 1 month. After CT scanning the following diagnoses were suggested as the primary cause of the abdominal pain: nonspecific abdominal pain 984 (44.3%), appendicitis 354 (15.9%), bowel obstruction 190 (8.6%), diverticulitis 182 (8.2%), gastrointestinal perforation 52 (2.3%), gallstone disease 64 (2.9%), pancreatitis 72 (3.2%), inflammatory bowel disease 13 (0.6%), intra-abdominal malignancy 34 (1.5%), vascular disease (including 1 completely cured patient with paradoxical embolization in the superior mesenteric artery) 33 (1.5%), urological 131 (5.9%), gynecological 54 (2.4%), miscellaneous 31 (1.4%). In 28 cases a conclusive CT examination could not be carried out. The suggested diagnoses were correct in 2,151 cases (96.8%). In 16 cases (0.7%) an incorrect diagnosis was reported, leading to 7 unnecessary laparotomies. False negative reports were obtained in 27 cases (1.2%). After CT examination 500 patients could be discharged immediately. Contrast-enhanced CT scanning results in superior diagnostic precision in patients with acute abdominal pain. The present work supports the strategy to include this examination early in the routine diagnostic process.


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