Mead Johnson Critical Care Symposium for the Practising Surgeon. 4. Abdominal crisis in the intensive care unit.
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Abdominal crises are common in critically ill patients who are admitted to the intensive care unit for problems unrelated to the abdomen. General surgeons may be asked to assess these patients for such reasons as pain, distension, possible sepsis, radiologic or laboratory abnormalities. Since many of the diagnostic signs and symptoms of acute abdomen are blunted or absent in critically ill patients who may be comatose or have been given analgesics or steroids, frequent thorough physical examination and close cooperation with the service admitting the patient are necessary to ensure early diagnosis and aggressive treatment of the abdominal crisis.
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