The symptoms of acute abdominal pain are nausea and vomiting. Other indications include guarding which is the contraction of abdominal muscles and when pressure is applied to the abdomen. There would be rigidity of the abdominal muscles or rebound tenderness, an increase in severe pain and discomfort when pressure is being applied to the localized area of the abdomen. The patient also has increased white blood cell count. In older patients, presentation delays, coexistent of disease and social and physical barriers complicate acute abdominal pain presentation (Nabi, 2011).
There are several diagnostic methods in evaluation of acute abdominal pain. Laboratory tests are done on the blood and urine specimen. The ultrasound is used in the evaluation of abdominal spaces with sound waves while the Computer Tomography (CT) scan is an x-ray technique using a computer program to develop detailed images. The ultrasound and CT are reliable in detecting common diagnoses causing acute abdominal pain. However, the ultrasound misses more cases than CT scan that is more sensitive (van Randen, Lameris, van Es, van Heessewijk, van Ramshorst, Ten, Bouma, van Leeuwen, Bossuyt, Stoker, Boermeester, & OPTIMA Study Group, 2011). Multi-detector CT can be used in evaluating patients with acute abdominal pain. It is an extremely CT noninvasive method for acute abdominal pain diagnosis and management.
In the plan of care for patients with acute abdominal pain, the nurse has a key role in the assessment, history taking and management. Assessment is done through physical examination and acquiring diagnostic data. A comprehensive assessment of pain including onset, location, characterization, duration, onset, frequency, quality, and intensity should be performed. Factors such as fear, fatigue and lack of information should be reduced to eliminate factors that may increase the ...Show more