Abdominal pain is a common problem in the geriatric population. Assessment is challenging in this age group because of the difficulty in obtaining a satisfactory history due to the presence of comorbid processes including impaired cognition, delirium, physical or other disabilities. It is generally more likely that the older patient with abdominal pain may have a serious underlying disorder. Older patients presenting to the ED with abdominal pain have a greater likelihood of requiring hospitalization and perhaps surgery. The importance of rapid assessment, use of appropriate tests, and early surgical consultation where indicated could be instrumental in improving outcomes. A focused physical examination is important. A combination of approaches in pain management based on current guidelines helps address pain. The geriatric patient has unique differing pharmacokinetics and dynamics with regard to use of medications, including analgesics and is prone to adverse drug effects. A multidisciplinary approach may be needed to tackle abdominal pain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas