UMEM Educational Pearls

This retrospective cohort study examined patients over a one year period to evaluate factors associated with unfavorable outcomes in acute abdominal pain. 

Unfavorable outcomes were defined as any of the following: 1) shock requiring an invasive procedure such as central line insertion or mechanical ventilation 2) emergency surgery 3) post-operative complications OR 4) in-hospital cardiac arrest

951 patients were included in the study. 

Physical exam and laboratory signs associated with the above unfavorable outcomes included:

-diastolic BP < 80 mmHG

-RR ? 24/min

-RLQ tenderness

-abd distension

-hypoactive bowel sounds

-presence of specific abdominal signs (ie Murphy's sign, psoas sign, etc).


-ANC >75%

Further, ED Length of Stay of > 4 hours was also associated with unfavorable outcomes.

Food for thought when considering serial abdominal exams when diagnosis is unclear…


Dadeh AA. Factors associated with unfavorable outcomes in patients with acute abdominal pain visiting the emergency department. BMC Emerg Med. 2022 Dec 6;22(1):195. doi: 10.1186/s12873-022-00761-y. PMID: 36474160; PMCID: PMC9727909.