Abdominal pain: a synthesis of recommendations for its correct management

  • Daniela Tirotta | danitirotta@libero.it Medicina Interna, Ospedale Cervesi, Cattolica (RN), Italy.
  • Annalisa Marchetti Medicina d’Urgenza, Ospedali Riuniti, Ancona, Italy.
  • Mariangela Di Lillo Medicina di Accettazione e di Urgenza, Ospedali Riuniti, Marche Nord, Fano (PU), Italy.
  • Fulvio Pomero Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Ospedale S. Croce e Carle, Cuneo, Italy.
  • Roberta Re Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Ospedale Maggiore della Carità, Novara, Italy.
  • Michele Meschi Dipartimento di Medicina e Diagnostica, Ospedale Santa Maria, Parma, Italy.
  • Domenico Montemurro Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Ospedale S. Bortolo, Vicenza, Italy.
  • Paola Gnerre UOC Medicina Interna, Ospedale San Paolo, Savona, Italy.
  • Chiara Bozzano UO Medicina Interna, Ospedale San Donato, Arezzo, Italy.
  • Micaela La Regina Medicina Interna, Ospedale Sant’Andrea, La Spezia, Italy.


Abdominal pain represents one of the most important diagnostic challenges for any physician and its correct interpretation and management require a proper systematic approach and sometimes an urgent action. Moreover the guidelines that can be referred to for indications about the most adequate management procedures are few and often focused only on radiologic management. Consequently, the approach to abdominal pain is often empirical. Therefore, we propose a review of the literature on the diagnosis of abdominal pain, which may contribute to improve the diagnosis and treatment of this complex condition through a systematic review of the evidences available in this field. As to our methodology, we conducted an extensive search in the main guideline databases (SIGN, ICSI, NICE, National Guideline Cleringhouse, CMA Infobase, NZ Guidelines Group, National System Guidelines, Clinical Practice Guidelines Portal, eGuidelines), using as key words abdominal pain and abdominalgia. The guidelines were assessed according to the 2010 Italian version of the AGREE (Appraisal of Guidelines, Research and Evaluation II) methodology. Afterwards we formulated our main recommendations associated with the corresponding levels of evidence and focused our attention on some grey areas, which we investigated with further research using Medline and the main systematic review databases (Cochrane database). The four main grey areas investigated were: hospital admission criteria, prognostic stratification, need for analgesic treatment and possibility of attributing abdominalgia to an abdominal pain syndrome. We then formulated our consesus-based recommendations on the grey areas. Abdominal pain management remains a complex issue for internists. As with other diagnostic challenges, it would be advisable to develop additional guidelines based on a multidisciplinary approach and not only focused on radiological management.



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Young FADOI internists: from evidence to clinical practice
Abdominal pain, management, hospital admission.
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How to Cite
Tirotta, D., Marchetti, A., Di Lillo, M., Pomero, F., Re, R., Meschi, M., Montemurro, D., Gnerre, P., Bozzano, C., & La Regina, M. (2015). Abdominal pain: a synthesis of recommendations for its correct management. Italian Journal of Medicine, 9(2), 193-202. https://doi.org/10.4081/itjm.2015.515

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