Severe abdominal pain in patients with AIDS: Frequency, clinical aspects, causes, and outcome

F. Parente, M. Cernuschi, S. Antinori, A. Lazzarin, M. Moroni, M. Fasan, G. Rizzardini, V. Rovati, E. Morandi, P. Molteni, G. Bianchi Porro

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Parente F, Cernuschi M, Antinori S, Lazzarin A, Moroni M, Fasan M, Rizzardini G, Rovati V, Morandi E, Molteni P, Bianchi Porro G. Severe abdominal pain in patients with AIDS: frequency, clinical aspects, causes, and outcome. Scand J Gastroenterol 1994;29:511-515. Background: The exact prevalence of abdominal pain in AIDS patients, as well as the entire spectrum of causative disorders, has not yet been well defined. In addition, the existing data derive almost exclusively from surgical series describing only those patients who have undergone emergency surgical procedures. Methods: We reviewed our experience with patients presenting with severe abdominal pain from a large series of non-selected consecutive AIDS patients seen at our institution over a period of 4 years. Results: Of 458 patients, 71 (15% had severe abdominal pain, and its occurrence was associated with a reduced patient survival. Specific diagnoses were made premortem in 42 patients (59% potential causes of pain were identified at postmortem examination in 23 patients (33% whereas no specific causes were found in 6 patients (8% Most of the causative disorders (65% were AIDS-related, whereas HIV-independent pathologic conditions were found in only 18% of the patients. The predominant site of pain, combined with a few key symptoms, had a high predictive diagnostic value in nearly half of the patients. The indications for emergency laparotomy were limited and substantially similar to those of the non-HIV population. Conclusions: Severe abdominal pain frequently complicates the course of AIDS, and its occurrence is associated with reduced survival. In most patients it is due to disorders closely associated with the HIV infection. Specific causes of pain may be identified in most of the cases by an appropriate diagnostic evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-515
Number of pages5
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • AIDS
  • Emergency laparotomy
  • Severe abdominal pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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