Nonspecific abdominal pain accounts for 40% to 60% of the discharge diagnoses for patients initially presenting to the ED with acute abdominal pain.1 After excluding a serious surgical cause or life-threatening illness, the physician must accept that often a specific diagnosis cannot be made at the time and that the best course is to arrange careful follow-up rather than force an incorrect diagnosis. The key to confirming the diagnosis of nonspecific abdominal pain is a repeat examination in 24 hours to confirm that the abdomen is still benign. Appendicitis is the most common surgical diagnosis.
- Nonspecific abdominal pain.
1. Brewer BJ, Golden GT, Hitch DC, et al: Abdominal pain: an analysis of 1000 consecutive cases in a university hospital emergency room. Am J Surg 1976;131:219223.
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