Acute abdominal pain is the leading cause of presentation to an emergency department in the United States. Over 5.6 million annual visits have been reported for abdominal pain and represent 18% of emergency department visits and 1.5% of all office-based visits. Acute abdominal pain can be described as visceral, somatic, or neuropathic in origin. Faith community nurses have tools, such as OLDCARTS, to take a good history in order to make sound decisions regarding patient referral to a higher level of care. Identifying red flags for abdominal emergencies and awareness of signs and symptoms of colon cancer allow faith community nurses to be in a unique position to improve outcomes and provide education to their patients.
Keywords: acute abdominal pain, red flags, OLDCARTS, patient education