Published online Dec 16, 2013. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v1.i9.276
Revised: October 29, 2013
Accepted: November 2, 2013
Published online: December 16, 2013
Acute abdominal pain is a common complaint in pediatric emergency departments. A complete evaluation is the key factor approaching the disease and should include the patient’s age, any trauma history, the onset and chronicity of the pain, the related symptoms and a detailed physical examination. The aim of this review article is to provide some information for physicians in pediatric emergency departments, with the age factors and several causes of non-traumatic acute abdominal pain. The leading causes of acute abdominal pain are divided into four age groups: infants younger than 2 years old, children 2 to 5, children 5 to 12, and children older than 12 years old. We review the information about acute appendicitis, intussusception, Henoch-Schönlein purpura, infection, Meckel’s diverticulum and mesenteric adenitis. In conclusion, the etiologies of acute abdomen in children admitted to the emergency department vary depending on age. A complete history and detailed physical examination, as well as abdominal imaging examinations, could provide useful information for physicians in the emergency department to narrow the differential diagnosis of abdominal emergencies and give a timely treatment.
Core tip: The mini review provides the essential information for physicians in pediatric emergency departments, mainly focused on the clinical diagnosis in different age groups and on several major causes of acute abdominal pain in children.