Non-obstetrical acute abdomen during pregnancy

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2007 Mar;131(1):4-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2006.07.052. Epub 2006 Sep 18.


Acute abdomen in pregnancy remains one of the most challenging diagnostic and therapeutic dilemmas today. The incidence of acute abdomen during pregnancy is 1 in 500-635 pregnancies. Despite advancements in medical technology, preoperative diagnosis of acute abdominal conditions is still inaccurate. Laboratory parameters are not specific and often altered as a physiologic consequence of pregnancy. Use of laparoscopic procedures as diagnostic tools makes diagnosis of such conditions earlier, more accurate, and safer. Appendicitis is the most common cause of the acute abdomen during pregnancy, occurring with a usual frequency of 1 in 500-2000 pregnancies, which amounts to 25% of operative indications for non-obstetric surgery during pregnancy. Surgical treatment is indicated in most cases, as in nonpregnant women. Laparoscopic procedures in the treatment of acute abdomen in pregnancy proved safe and accurate, and in selected groups of patients are becoming the procedures of choice with a perspective for the widening of such indications with more frequent use and subsequent optimal results. Despite these advances, laparotomy still remains the procedure of choice in complicated and uncertain cases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen, Acute / diagnosis*
  • Abdomen, Acute / etiology
  • Abdomen, Acute / therapy*
  • Appendicitis / complications
  • Appendicitis / diagnosis
  • Appendicitis / therapy
  • Cholecystitis, Acute / complications
  • Cholecystitis, Acute / diagnosis
  • Cholecystitis, Acute / therapy
  • Endoscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Obstruction / complications
  • Intestinal Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Obstruction / therapy
  • Laparoscopy
  • Pancreatitis / complications
  • Pancreatitis / diagnosis
  • Pancreatitis / therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • Splenic Rupture / complications
  • Splenic Rupture / diagnosis
  • Splenic Rupture / therapy
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnosis
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy