Acute abdomen in children due to extra-abdominal causes

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Acute abdominal pain in children is a common cause for referral to the emergency room and for subsequent hospitalization to pediatric medical or surgical departments. There are rare occasions when the abdominal pain is derived from extra-abdominal organs or systems. The aim of the present study was to establish the most common extra-abdominal causes of acute abdominal pain.


The notes of all children (1 month–14 years of age) examined for acute abdominal pain in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department of Alexandroupolis District University Hospital in January 2001–December 2005 were analyzed retrospectively. Demographic data, clinical signs and symptoms, and laboratory findings were recorded, as well as the final diagnosis and outcome.


Of a total number of 28 124 children who were brought to the A&E department, in 1731 the main complaint was acute abdominal pain. In 51 children their symptoms had an extra-abdominal cause, the most frequent being pneumonia (n = 15), tonsillitis (n = 10), otitis media (n = 9), and acute leukemia (n = 5).


Both abdominal and extra-abdominal causes should be considered by a pediatrician who is confronted with a child with acute abdominal pain.

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