Nonsurgical abdominal pain in the elderly

Katren R Tyler, Maura Kennedy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter presents a case study of 71-year-old woman who presented to the emergency department (ED) with abdominal pain. The differential for abdominal pain in the elderly is broad as it may be the presenting symptom for illnesses involving intraperitoneal, and extraperitoneal structures. The chapter focuses on nonsurgical causes of acute abdominal pain in the elderly. The history and physical examination remains the cornerstone of the clinical evaluation, but can be challenging in the older patient with comorbidities. An electrocardiogram should be obtained in any older adult presenting with upper abdominal pain or vague, nonlocalizing abdominal pain. Diagnostic imaging studies are driven by the clinician's clinical assessment and differential diagnosis; however, the history and physical examination of the older patient with abdominal pain is often less specific than in younger patients. Abdominal CT scans remain an extremely useful diagnostic test and are potentially therapeutic when utilized with CT-guided drainage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeriatric Emergencies
Subtitle of host publicationA Discussion-based Review
PublisherWiley Blackwell
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781118753262
ISBN (Print)9781118753347
StatePublished - May 31 2016


  • Clinical assessment
  • CT scans
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Elderly patient
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Nonsurgical abdominal pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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