Acute abdominal pain and urgency to defecate in the young and the old: a useful symptom-complex?
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In the belief that "pattern recognition" is an important first step of the diagnostic process, we report our observation of an uncommon and heretofore poorly documented symptom-complex in 10 patients, and suggest that the constellation of abdominal pain and urgency to defecate in the acutely ill surgical patient should raise the diagnostic possibility of intra-abdominal bleeding. In our experience, this is statistically likely to be associated with a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm in the old and a ruptured ectopic pregnancy in the young.
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