With an aging population, emergency department clinicians can expect an increase in geriatric patients presenting with abdominal pain. Compared with younger patients, this patient population is less likely to present with classic symptoms, physical examination findings, and laboratory values of abdominal disease. However, the morbidity and mortality associated with elderly patients presenting with abdominal pathologic conditions are significant. For this reason, the clinician must be familiar with some subtle and not so subtle differences when caring for the geriatric patient with abdominal pain to ensure timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Geriatric patients with abdominal disease or pathologic conditions present to the emergency department atypically.
There is increased morbidity and mortality associated with geriatric patients who are seen in the emergency department with abdominal pain compared with younger patients.
Further diagnostics and admission are frequently warranted in elderly patients who present with abdominal pain.