Royal College Alert – Abdominal Pain

High risk for and subtle presentations of serious pathologic conditions in the elderly patient who has abdominal pain require careful and timely evaluation.

The elderly patient with abdominal pain consumes more time and resources than any other emergency department (ED) patient presentation.

Their length of stay is 20% longer than younger patients who have the same complaint, they require admission nearly half the time, and they require surgical intervention one third of the time.

This alert from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) emphasises the importance of this presentation and that a high index of suspicion for serious pathology is required: