Avoiding Misdiagnosis of Abdominal Vascular Catastrophes

Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2021 Nov;39(4):769-780. doi: 10.1016/j.emc.2021.08.002. Epub 2021 Sep 6.


Abdominal vascular emergencies are an uncommon entity in emergency medicine, but when they present, they are often catastrophic. These time-sensitive and life-threatening diagnoses are often hidden in nonspecific complaints such as nausea, vomiting, or flank pain, so the emergency physician must remain diligent and consider these in the differential diagnoses. The following is an overview of the more common of these abdominal vascular emergencies, in the hope that they help the Emergency Physician avoid the misdiagnosis and subsequent vascular catastrophe that would follow.

Keywords: Abdominal aortic aneurysm; Aortic occlusion; Blunt abdominal trauma; Bowel ischemia; Penetrating abdominal trauma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / blood supply*
  • Abdominal Injuries / diagnosis
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / diagnosis
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / surgery
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / diagnosis
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / diagnosis
  • Diagnostic Errors / prevention & control*
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Digestive System
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Humans
  • Intestines / blood supply
  • Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Ischemia / therapy
  • Mesenteric Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Mesenteric Ischemia / therapy
  • Vascular System Injuries / diagnosis