More about: Acute
In medicine, an acute disease is a disease with an abrupt onset. Acute often also connotes an illness that is of short duration, rapidly progressive and in need of urgent care.1
Acute may be used to distinguish a disease from a chronic form or to highlight the sudden onset of a disease. The word "acute" may also be used in the context of medicine to refer to the acute phase of injury, meaning the immediate post-injury healing processes.
Acute conditions are severe and sudden in onset. This could describe anything from a broken bone to an asthma attack. A chronic condition, by contrast is a long-developing syndrome, such as osteoporosis or asthma. Note that osteoporosis, a chronic condition, may cause a broken bone, an acute condition. An acute asthma attack occurs in the midst of the chronic disease of asthma. Acute conditions, such as a first asthma attack, may lead to a chronic syndrome if untreated. 2
Acute care, 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.