“Does this patient have an acute abdomen?” is a question that should be resolved promptly whenever a patient presents with abdominal pain so that proper treatment can be initiated without delay. The importance of early diagnosis and prompt treatment cannot be overemphasized since the longer the duration between the onset of illness and its treatment, the greater the incidence of mortality and morbidity. For example, mortality in acute appendicitis is no greater than mortality incidental to anesthesia if the appendectomy is performed when inflammation is confined to the viscus; in contrast, mortality is 30 times higher when the appendectomy is performed on patients in whom the inflammation has spread to the peritoneal cavity. Likewise the survival rate decreases as duration increases between perforation of a peptic ulcer and its treatment. A third and most dramatic example is that of a ruptured abdominal aneurysm, in which a few minutes’ delay in diagnosis and treatment may bring about the patient’s death.
KeywordsAcute Appendicitis Acute Abdomen Preoperative Preparation Altered Sensorium Abdominal Aneurysm
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