Surgical conditions affecting the abdomen in children can be associated with significant morbidity and mortality if they are not recognised and managed appropriately. It is therefore important that the correct diagnosis is made quickly, and the appropriate intervention is initiated in a timely manner and, if necessary, rapid transfer is made to a specialist paediatric surgical facility. This article provides an overview of the different surgical presentations encountered in children, and outlines the most important points in the history, examination and management of such cases, whether encountered in the emergency setting or in the community. Two illustrative case studies have been included to demonstrate how these emergencies may present in clinical practice.
Keywords: Abdomen; Children; Nurses; Surgical conditions.