A 5-year follow up of patients discharged with non-specific abdominal pain: out of sight, out of mind?
Intern Med J. 2012 Apr;42(4):395-401
Authors: Banz VM, Sperisen O, de Moya M, Zimmermann H, Candinas D, Mougiakakou SG, Exadaktylos AK
BACKGROUND/AIM: Acute non-specific abdominal pain (NSAP) is prevalent in 6-25% of the general population and is a common cause of admission to the emergency department (ED). Despite involvement of substantial financial and human resources, there are few data on long-term outcome after initial diagnosis. The aim of this study was to evaluate long-term outcome of patients initially admitted with NSAP to an ED.
METHODS: The study involves a 5-year follow-up analysis of prospectively collected data on 104 patients admitted to our ED in 2003 with NSAP. Primary end-point was clinical outcome 5 years after initial ED admission. Predictive risk factors were assessed using a multivariate regression model.
RESULTS: 29 patients (28%) had recurring NSAP 5 years after initial ED admission, 76% of these patients received (multiple) diagnostic examinations and 13% eventually required diagnostic (or therapeutic) surgery. Although approximately half of patients with recurring NSAP eventually received a definite diagnosis, 30% still suffered from recurrent abdominal pain. Using regression analysis, no single factor in our dataset could be identified as a predictor for NSAP persistence.
CONCLUSION: The long-term impact for patients initially admitted to our ED with acute NSAP is significant--28% of patients continue to suffer from recurring NSAP after 5 years. NSAP therefore remains, despite more advanced diagnostic tools, a true and, as yet, unsolved problem.
PMID: 20561097 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]