Section III. TREATING AN ACUTE ABDOMEN
4-12. CAUSES OF AN ACUTE ABDOMEN
The term "acute abdomen" is used to indicate the presence of any of a wide
variety of abdominal disorders causing severe abdominal pain. An acute abdomen is
usually accompanied by peritonitis, an inflammation of the peritoneum (the membrane
lining the abdominal cavity). Peritonitis is usually caused by contents of a ruptured
organ, such as the digestive juices and food from the stomach, fecal material from an
intestine, urine from the bladder, bile from the liver, or pus from a ruptured appendix
open abdominal wound. Peritonitis is always a danger with an open abdominal wound
and often results from a closed abdominal injury.
4-13. SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF AN ACUTE ABDOMEN
a. Peritonitis. Signs and symptoms of peritonitis include:
Abdominal pain, local or diffused.
Abdominal tenderness (palpate abdominal area).
Tense (rigid), distended abdomen (palpate abdominal area).
Rapid, shallow respirations.
Low blood pressure.
Nausea or vomiting.
(10) Refusal of casualty to move, usually due to pain.
(11) Referred pain (pain felt at a point other than the source of the pain).