Children with abdominal pain: Evaluation in the pediatric emergency department

Sally L. Reynolds*, David M. Jaffe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


In a retrospective study of children with abdominal pain in a pediatric emergency department, 371 children were identified during four seasonally diverse months. Half of the children were two to six years old, 32% were seven to 11 years old, and 19% were 12 to 16 years old. Forty-eight different diagnoses were made, but 10 diagnoses were given to 83% of the patients. We found an increased frequency of respiratory illnesses (12%) as compared to other studies. Appendicitis was the only surgical problem that occurred in more than one percent of the children. The diagnoses were classified as medical (64.4%), surgical (6.5%), and nonspecific (29.1%). χ2 and multinomial logit analysis revealed that guarding and abdominal tenderness were the two symptoms which were most strongly associated with a surgical diagnosis. The goal of this work is to assist the busy emergency clinician with the difficult task of making expeditious and accurate diagnoses for children with abdominal pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-12
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric emergency care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1990


  • Abdominal pain
  • Outpatient
  • Surgical abdomen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine


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