, describing a disease
as acute denotes
that it is of short duration
and, as a corollary
of that, of recent onset
. The quantification
of how much time constitutes "short" and "recent" varies by disease and by context, but the core denotation of "acute" is always qualitatively
in contrast with "chronic
", which denotes long-lasting disease (for example, in acute leukaemia
and chronic leukaemia
). In addition, "acute" also often connotes
two other meanings: sudden
onset and severity
, such as in acute myocardial infarction
(AMI), where suddenness and severity are both established aspects of the meaning. It thus often connotes that the condition is fulminant
(as in the AMI example), but not always (as in acute rhinitis
, which is usually synonym
ous with the common cold
). The one thing that acute MI and acute rhinitis have in common is that they are not chronic. They can happen again (as in recurrent pneumonia
, that is, multiple acute pneumonia episodes), but they are not the same case
ongoing for months or years (unlike chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
, which is).
sense of "acute disease" refers to the acute phase, that is, a short course, of any disease entity.
For example, in an article on ulcerative enteritis
, the author says, "in acute disease there may be increased mortality
without any obvious signs
referring to the acute form or phase of ulcerative enteritis.
Not all acute diseases or injuries are severe, and vice versa. For example, a mild stubbed toe
is an acute injury. Similarly, many acute upper respiratory infections
and acute gastroenteritis
cases in adults are mild and usually resolve within a few days or weeks.
The term "acute" is also included in the definition of several diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome
, acute leukaemia
, acute myocardial infarction
, and acute hepatitis
. This is often to distinguish diseases from their chronic forms, such as chronic leukaemia
, or to highlight the sudden onset of the disease, such as acute myocardial infarct.
Related terms include:
is the early and specialist management of adult patients suffering from a wide range of medical conditions requiring urgent or emergency
care usually within 48 hours of admission or referral from other specialties.
Acute hospitals are those intended for short-term medical and/or surgical treatment and care. The related medical speciality
is acute medicine
Category:Human diseases and disorders