Surgical emergencies: acute abdominal pain
Adam Jones, Kevin Turner, and Ashok Handa guide you through the early management of abdominal pain
Abdominal pain is common, accounting for around 1% of all admissions to hospital.1 The trouble with surgical textbooks is that abdominal pain is classified by system, which is fine for written exam answers but does not help much when you're faced with a patient, except to remind you of the many possible diagnoses in front of you. Many of these are not life threatening. In some, however, rapid diagnosis and treatment can save lives. In theory you will never have to face these serious cases alone as a house officer, but in practice you may have to. Do not panic - it is not as daunting as you may think if you follow a few basic principles.
This article will tell you these basic principles that will get you through the initial presentation." It is not textbook stuff for written exams, as you can easily learn lists of symptoms and