Acute means sudden or severe. Acute symptoms appear, change, or worsen rapidly. It is the opposite of chronic.
Last reviewed 11/4/2012 by David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, and Stephanie Slon.
- Call 911 for all medical emergencies.