Evaluation of acute abdomen by plain abdominal radiographs
Ikundu, Geoffrey K
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The key role played by plain films in the diagnosis of acute abdomen is well recognised by both surgeons and radiologists. In this study eighty (80) patients with various acute abdominal conditions were reviewed. Each of them had plain abdominal films taken on admission to hospital, seventy six (95%) of them eventually had laparatosy and in only four of them the final diagnosis was made by other methods namely; intravenous urography for renal calculi, chest xray for intrathoracic disease and clinically in two of them with partial intestinal obstruction due to ascariasis. The most common condition encountered was intestinal obstruction seen in 34 out of 80 patients (44.5%). In the paediatric age group the most common cause of acute abdomen was ascariasis with 7 out of 18 children below age 13 having obstruction secondary to ascariasis. Other common conditions were acute appendicitis and perforated bowel. The radiographs detected 63.2% of abnormalities seen at laparotomy and the radiologic diagnosis concurred with the final diagnosis in 57% of the cases. These results compared well with those of other studies and show high positive yields. They therefore justify the use of plain abdominal radiographs in the diagnosis and management of acute abdomen.