Introduction Abdominal pain should always be treated as aserious complaint by the clinician due to the large proportion of potentiallyserious medical conditions which can present with abdominal pain. However, a large proportion of children will not haveany significant disease processes underway. This study focuses on extrinsicfactors which may be associated with abdominal pain presentations to helpelucidate appropriate management.
Methods Prospective study. A survey was administered to children and their parents, presenting tocasualty for assessment of abdominal pain. Questions related to thepatient and their family. Information obtained related to the child’shealth, social/family dynamics and family history wereobtained.
Results 97 surveys were conducted. There was an equal sex distribution. Mean age was11. The three most common diagnoses were of Benign pain, Mesenteric adenitisand Appendicitis. There was a peak in winterpresentations for those with benign pain. 27% of children with benign pain had parentswho smoked. Inflammatory conditions were common with 38% and 28% of children,having family histories of asthma and eczema respectively. 9% had a history of IBS and Coeliac disease. Nodifferences between the sexes were observed.
Conclusion Children presenting to hospital with abdominal pain have a higher prevalence ofparental smoking, eczema, asthma and migraine. There is a peak incidence inbenign presentations during winter. Even in children with significantextrinsic influences, appendicitis was the third most common diagnosis, mandating thorough evaluation for all children with abdominal pain nomatter the background circumstances.