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Radiologia. 2016 May;58 Suppl 2:80-91. doi: 10.1016/j.rx.2016.02.003. Epub 2016 Mar 31.

Abdominal emergencies in pediatrics.

[Article in English, Spanish]

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Servicio de Radiología, Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre, Madrid, España. Electronic address:
Servicio de Radiología, Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre, Madrid, España.


Abdominal symptoms are among the most common reasons for pediatric emergency department visits, and abdominal pain is the most frequently reported symptom. Thorough history taking and physical examination can often reach the correct diagnosis. Knowing the abdominal conditions that are most common in each age group can help radiologists narrow the differential diagnosis. When imaging tests are indicated, ultrasonography is usually the first-line technique, enabling the diagnosis or adding relevant information with the well-known advantages of this technique. Nowadays, plain-film X-ray studies are reserved for cases in which perforation, bowel obstruction, or foreign body ingestion is suspected. It is also important to remember that abdominal pain can also occur secondary to basal pneumonia. CT is reserved for specific indications and in individual cases, for example, in patients with high clinical suspicion of abdominal disease and inconclusive findings at ultrasonography. We review some of the most common conditions in pediatric emergencies, the different imaging tests indicated in each case, and the imaging signs in each condition.


Abdomen agudo; Abdominal pain in children; Acute abdomen; Acute appendicitis; Apendicitis aguda; Divertículo de Meckel; Dolor abdominal pediátrico; Intussusception; Invaginación; Meckel's diverticulum

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