Comparative Approach to Non-Traumatic Acute Abdominal Pain Between Elderly and Non-Elderly in the Emergency Department: A Study in Rural Greece

Αpostolos Pappas, Hariklia Toutouni, Stavros Gourgiotis, Charalampos Seretis, Ilias Koukoutsis, Ioannis Chrysikos, George Gemenetzis, Ioannis Matzoukas, George Karavitis, Emmanouil Lagoudianakis


Background: Acute abdominal pain is one of the most common symptoms that emergency department physicians encounter during their practice. The difficult task of early diagnosis and management of abdominal pain becomes more complicated when it involves elderly patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence of age based differences regarding the management of acute non-traumatic abdominal pain in the Emergency Department.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the medical records of 933 patients with acute non-traumatic abdominal pain in the emergency department of a regional hospital during one year period.

Results: There were no differences between native and foreign elder patients regarding the use of imaging studies and discharge status. Although no differences were detected regarding the clinical presentation and management within the Emergency Department, elder patients with abdominal pain had a higher likelihood of being admitted for further hospitalization and were more often submitted to diagnostic examinations. The elder group had a trend towards lower number of cases of non-specific abdominal pain in comparison with the non-elders. Between male and female elders no statistically significant differences were detected.

Conclusions: A thorough work-up is essential for all patients. The clinician should always be alerted, since elderly patients may require more tests and they should have a low threshold for hospital admission.



Approach; Abdominal pain; Elderly; Non-elderly; Emergency department

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