What clinical and laboratory parameters determine significant intra abdominal pathology for patients assessed in hospital with acute abdominal pain?

Abbas, Saleh M.; Smithers, Troy; Truter, Etienne
January 2007
World Journal of Emergency Surgery;2007, Vol. 2, p26
Academic Journal
Background: Abdominal pain is a common cause for emergency admission. While some patients have serious abdominal pathology, a significant group of those patients have no specific cause for the pain. This study was conducted to identify those who have non-specific abdominal pain who can be either admitted short term for observation or reassured and discharged for outpatient management. Patients and methods: A prospective documentation of clinical and laboratory data was obtained on a consecutive cohort of 286 patients who were admitted to a surgical unit over a nine month period with symptoms of abdominal pain regarded severe enough for full assessment in the casualty department and admission to a surgical ward. The patients were followed until a definite diagnosis was made or the patient's condition and abdominal pain improved and the patient discharged. The hospital where the study took place is a small peripheral general hospital draining a population of 120,000 people in a rural area in New Zealand. Results: There were 286 admissions to the emergency department. Logistic regression multivariate statistical analysis showed that guarding raised white cells count, tachycardia and vomiting were the only variables associated with significant pathology. Conclusion: Patients with no vomiting, no guarding, who have normal pulse rates and normal white cell counts are unlikely to have significant pathology requiring further active intervention either medical or surgical.


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