Addisu Melkie, Tadess Alemayehu, Eyobe Tarekegn
Background: Acute abdomen is a commonly encountered illness both in developed and developing nations. But its relative incidence varies from place to place and among populations. Socio-economic status and diet are the factors for observed difference. Although the diagnoses associated with acute abdomen vary according to age and gender, analysis based on specific cause of acute abdomen is of great value for early diagnosis and prompt treatment in clinical practice. Methods: This was a one year retrospective cross sectional study conducted at Dil Chora referral hospital in Dire-Dawa of eastern Ethiopia. Study population was patients presented to the hospital with acute abdominal emergencies. Samples were taken from all patients admitted with acute abdomen from October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012. Data were collected with checklist and analysed by carrying out bivariate cross-tabulation, chi-square statistical test and logistic regression. Results: The most common cause of acute abdomen was acute appendicitis followed by intestinal obstruction and gastro-duodenal ulcer perforation. Its' peak incidence was in age groups between 20 and 29 years. Acute abdomen mortality ratio was 10.9%. A statistical significance association was found between outcome of acute abdomen and duration of illness less than 2 days (AOR=3.89, 95% CI=1.094-13.84), age between 18-50 years old (AOR=5.06, 95% CI=1.327-19.349) and season of presentation from September–November (OR=3.6, 95% CI=1.296-10.108). Conclusion and recommendation: Acute abdomen mortality ratio was found to be high. The leading causes were acute appendicitis and intestinal obstruction with gastroduodenal ulcer perforation as a main fatal cause of acute abdomen. Regional health officials and health care providers should discuss the possible ways of reducing acute abdomen morbidity and mortality by creating awareness in the community by encourage early presentations of patients and good patient referral linkage and quality surgical service in order to reduce its associated impacts.