Abdominal radiography in the emergency department: a prospective analysis

Ann Emerg Med. 1982 Jan;11(1):7-8. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(82)80004-8.


We present a prospective analysis of 100 consecutive abdominal radiographs of 96 emergency patients who were referred to radiology with a variety of abdominal complaints. In patients with diffuse, nonspecific abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or gastrointestinal bleeding, 98% of the radiographs were negative or had positive findings which were unrelated to the current clinical problem. Ninety-three percent of the positive radiographs that were related to the acute problem occurred in patients with renal colic; hematuria; ingestion of foreign bodies; previously known surgical conditions, such as incarcerated hernias; intra-abdominal metastatic carcinoma; fecal impaction; or true acute abdominal syndromes.

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Health Services Misuse
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 500 and over
  • Humans
  • Nausea / etiology
  • North Carolina
  • Pain / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography, Abdominal*
  • Vomiting / etiology