A case of tetanus mimicking acute abdomen
Bülent Güngör, Oktay Karaköse, Koray Topgül
Ondokuz Mayıs Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi Genel Cerrahi AD, SAMSUN
Acute abdomen presenting with generalized abdominal rigidity is usually considered as a surgical emergency. Tetanus infection may also cause abdominal rigidity as in an acute abdomen. Latency of sign and symptoms of tetanus and/or the unawareness of the physician may lead to an unnecessary laparotomy. The nonimmunized middle aged and elderly people of lower socioeconomical status especially in the rural areas are at higher risk of tetanus.
In this report a 57 years old patient who was admitted to the emergency unit with dispnea, abdominal pain and operated upon with the finding of abdominal rigidity is presented. Postoperative extubation of the patient could not be achieved and the patient was referred to an intensive care unit for respiratory support with the eventual diagnosis of tetanus. Despite all efforts the patient expired on the thirteenth day postoperatively. Tetanus should be kept in mind in the gamut of causes when a dignosis of “acute abdomen” is entertained especially in the above mentioned risk groups.
Keywords: Tetanus, acute abdomen, laparotomy.