Acute Abdominal Pain in Pregnant Patients

  • Gabriele MasselliEmail author
  • Martina Derme
  • Gianfranco Gualdi


Acute abdominal pain in pregnancy presents diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial for the well-being of the mother and the fetus, and imaging is often required to clarify the clinical picture. Ultrasound (US) remains the primary imaging modality for the pregnant abdomen and pelvis because of its availability, portability, and absence of ionizing radiation. US can often be used to elucidate the cause of abdominal and pelvic pain, particularly if the pain is due to an obstetric or gynecologic abnormality. However, evaluation of the bowel, pancreas, ureters, and mesenteric vasculature may be limited on US because of patient body habitus, a small field of view, and the presence of overlying structures, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been shown to be highly useful in the diagnosis of acute gynecological and obstetric disorders, and particularly in the setting of an acute abdomen during pregnancy. MRI is often used when US is inconclusive. Computed tomography (CT) is the imaging examination of choice when there is a life-threatening situation, and in patients with trauma, when a rapid diagnosis is required, and US is not diagnostic.


Acute abdominal pain Pregnancy Ultrasound Computed tomography Magnetic resonance imaging 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriele Masselli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Martina Derme
    • 2
  • Gianfranco Gualdi
    • 1
  1. 1.Radiology DepartmentUmberto I Hospital, Sapienza UniversityRomeItaly
  2. 2.Gynecology and Obstetrics DepartmentUmberto I Hospital, Sapienza UniversityRomeItaly

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