There are few studies that have reported the details of emergency surgery for acute abdominal pain. This study aimed to clarify the etiologies and outcomes of emergency abdominal surgery among patients in different age categories.
Between January 2014 and December 2016, 1456 patients aged 7 years or older who underwent emergency surgery for acute abdominal pain at our institution were enrolled in this study. The patients were divided into three age groups: 7–17 years (n = 146), 18–64 years (n = 628), and 65 years or older (n = 682). The clinical characteristics, etiology of abdominal emergency surgery, and surgical outcomes were compared among the three groups.
The proportion of patients with comorbid conditions significantly increased with increasing ages. In patients in between 7 and 17 and in those between 18 and 64 years, acute appendicitis was the most frequent etiology, followed by bowel obstruction. Conversely, the most frequent etiology was bowel obstruction, followed by biliary disease in patients 65 years or older. The morbidity and mortality rate were 12% and 0.2% in patients 18–64 years, and 25% and 1.8% in patients 65 years or older (P < 0.001 and P = 0.004, respectively). In the group of patients 65 years or older, more patients were transferred to different hospitals for rehabilitation or recovery.
This study demonstrated significant differences among patients in different age categories in terms of the etiologies and outcomes of emergency abdominal surgery.