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Abdominal pain in adolescent females: a single-centre audit and review of management


Abdominal pain in adolescent females has undergone recent changes with regards to its management under various specialities. The authors report a single-centre audit looking at the correct investigation and management of 12-year-old to 16-year-old girls with abdominal pain in the emergency department setting.


A single-centre audit and retrospective analysis of patients took place using case notes and computerised records. Documentation was analysed using statistical analysis and minimum standards were set and reviewed.


After exclusion criteria 62 females between the ages of 12 and 16 presented to the paediatric emergency department in Leicester with abdominal pain as the predominant admission symptom during a 12-month period. Documentation of the gynaecological history was poor (menstrual history 47%, sexual history 14%, contraception 8%), as was the performance of basic investigations (urine dipsticks 65%, pregnancy test 42%). Documentation was analysed with regard to discharge diagnosis. Ultrasound investigation was performed on seven of the patients but only once admitted to various specialities. No ultrasound was undertaken upon admission.


Improvement in documentation of minimum standards for these patients is needed. A multidisciplinary care pathway could improve outcome. Consideration should be given to whether early ultrasound investigation is appropriate and there is a further need for investigation as to whether this would improve longer term outcomes.

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Correspondence to F Gallagher.

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Gallagher, F., Jahn, H. & Davies, F. Abdominal pain in adolescent females: a single-centre audit and review of management. Crit Care 17, P264 (2013).

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  • Emergency Department
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Adolescent Female
  • Minimum Standard
  • Care Pathway