Quantitative Assessment of Secondary Healthcare Utilisation by Patients With Functional Abdominal Pain

Emma MacVicar, Pauline Insch, Fiona Summers, Duff Bruce, George Ramsay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is increasing awareness of the impact functional conditions have on the National Health Service (NHS). Less is known about the resources used to manage these conditions. This retrospective quantitative audit aims to determine the demographic and healthcare utilisation of functional abdominal pain patients presenting to the hospital. The most frequent hospital attenders with non-specific abdominal pain in NHS Grampian, 2018-2019, were assessed (n=144). Adult patients meeting the ROME II diagnostic criteria for functional abdominal pain diagnosis were included (n=33). Data were retrospectively collected manually from electronic medical records. Of 33 patients, 93.9% were female, with a mean age of 31.2 years. Each had accessed a mean of 11.5 specialist services, with 69.7% being referred to mental health services; 9.1% had completed treatment. Each patient had a median 4 (range 1-26) emergency/unscheduled presentations to hospital and median 2 (range 0-13) admissions for functional abdominal pain during the study period, with a total of 247 nights spent in hospital by this patient cohort for functional abdominal pain alone. The estimated total cost for these hospital admissions was £593,786.00. Extensive secondary-care input is currently required for patients with functional abdominal pain at a significant cost. Patients are re-presenting to the hospital frequently, which suggests that current management is not effective.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25145
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2022


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