Acute Abdomen

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Acute Abdomen


a pathological condition within the abdominal cavity that accompanies serious destructive, degenerative diseases and traumas of the abdominal organs.

Acute abdomen is characterized by sudden, sharp pains in the abdomen, tension of the muscles of the anterior abdominal wall, and irritation of the peritoneum. It arises in conjunction with many abnormal processes, including acute appendicitis, intestinal obstructions, and perforating gastric ulcers, as well as with strangulated hernias, acute cholecystitis, acute pancreatitis, and thrombosis of the intestinal vessels. It can also accompany the rupture of organs, including the rupture of the ovaries and fallopian tubes in extrauterine pregnancy. Pain associated with acute abdomen is usually accompanied by restless behavior of the patient in bed and by pallor, cold sweat, vomiting, and fecal retention. The pulse rate and respiration become accelerated. Roentgenoscopy of the abdominal cavity can reveal symptoms of a perforating ulcer or of an intestinal obstruction; diseases of the pancreas can be confirmed by blood counts and urinalysis.

A patient with acute abdomen must be immediately admitted to a surgical hospital and placed under a doctor’s care. Before hospitalization, the patient should neither eat nor drink; any analgesics, narcotics, antibiotics, laxatives, or enemas are also contraindicated. Cold compresses on the abdomen are permitted. When reflex reactions in conditions such as renal colic, pneumonia, and myocardial infarction produce a syndrome that resembles acute abdomen, the patient should be hospitalized to receive antispasmodic therapy and Novocain blockades, and the contents of the intestines should be removed. In the majority of cases of acute abdomen, emergency surgical intervention is indicated.


Komarov, F. I., V. A. Lisovskii, and V. G. Borisov. Ostryi zhivot i zheludochno-kishechnye krovotecheniia v praktike terapevta i khirurga. Leningrad, 1971.
Simonian, K. S. Peritonit. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Similar to our findings another study conducted at Rawalpindi (Pakistan) reported 01 (2.5%) case with burst abdomen operated in emergency for acute abdomen by using interrupted X-technique of closure and 4 (10%) burst abdomen cases using continuous technique, no statistical difference was observed among the two groups22.
Bhalerao, "Torsion of paraovarian cyst resulting in secondary torsion of the fallopian tube: A cause of acute abdomen," Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, vol.
Elangovan, "A rare case of jejunal GIST presenting as acute abdomen," University Journal of Surgery and Surgical Specialities, vol.
Narang, "Diagnostic value of lactate levels in acute abdomen disorders," Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, vol.
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Similar to most hospitals the surgical team usually review patients with an acute abdomen prior to the need for further imaging.
An emergency abdominal ultrasound and later CT scan did not reveal any cause of acute abdomen. Interestingly, the patient started complaining of headache during her stay in the emergency department.
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