New visits for abdominal pain in the primary care setting

A. M. Adelman, H. Koch

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Abstract

Abdominal pain is a common problem in primary care. Previous studies of this problem are limited by either the age group examined or the clinical setting. Findings of the 1980 and 1981 National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys were combined to assess new visits for abdominal pain. A visit to a physician was considered to be for new abdominal pain when: 1) the principal reason for the visit was either stomach or abdominal pain, cramps, or spasms; 2) the visit was not the result of a referral; and 3) the physician had not previously seen the patient for the condition associated with the pain. Abdominal pain was the most frequent reason for a new pain visit. Women sought medical care for new abdominal pain more frequently than men. Most patients saw general practitioners or family physicians for evaluation of their pain, only 5% of patients were subsequently referred, and 6% were hospitalized. Clinical lab tests were ordered in 45% of new abdominal pain visits, while in approximately 20% X-ray procedures were ordered. Seventy percent of the patients were given a prescription, with antacids and antispasmodics being prescribed most frequently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-126
Number of pages5
JournalFamily medicine
Volume23
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1991

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Family Practice

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