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עמוד בית
Sat, 02.03.24

Original Articles

IMAJ | volume 17

Journal 11, November 2015
pages: 678-681

The Role of Plain Abdominal Radiographs in the Evaluation of Patients with Non-Traumatic Abdominal Pain

    Summary

    Background:

    Plain abdominal radiographs are still performed as a first imaging examination to evaluate abdominal pain in the emergency department (ED), despite uncertainty regarding their utility.

    Objectives:

    To describe the frequency and outcomes of the use of plain abdominal radiographs in the diagnosis of patients presenting with acute non-traumatic abdominal pain in the ED of a medical center. 

    Methods:

    We retrospectively reviewed the records of patients presenting to the ED with acute abdominal pain during a 6 month period. Further imaging (computed tomography, ultrasonography), when performed, was compared with the abdominal radiography. 

    Results:

    Of 573 consecutive patients, 300 (52%) underwent abdominal radiography. Findings were normal in 88% (n=264), non-specific in 7.3% (n=22), and abnormal in 4.7% (n=14). For those with normal results, no further imaging was ordered for 43% (114/264). Of the 57% (150/264) who had follow-up imaging, 65% (98/150) showed abnormal findings. In 9 (3%) of the 300 patients, abdominal radiography identified bowel perforations and obstructions, and treatment was provided without the need for further radiologic examination.

    Conclusions:

    The use of plain abdominal radiography is still common despite the high rate of false positive results. Efforts are needed to decrease the indiscriminate use of radiography in patients presenting with abdominal symptoms.

     

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