||This article needs more medical references for verification or relies too heavily on primary sources. (September 2012)|
Acute may be used to distinguish a disease from a chronic form, such as acute leukemia and chronic leukemia, or to highlight the sudden onset of a disease, such as acute myocardial infarct.  The word 'acute' may also be used in the context of medicine to refer to the acute phase of injury, referring to the immediate post-injury healing processes.
The term 'acute' may often be confused by the general public to mean 'severe'. However, not all acute injuries are severe, and visa-versa. For example, a mild stubbed toe is an acute injury. Similarly, adult Acute Upper Respiratory Infections and Acute Diarrheas are mild and usually resolve within a few days.
The term 'acute' is also included in the definition of several diseases, such as Severe acute respiratory syndrome, acute leukemia, acute myocardial infarction, and acute hepatitis. This is often to distinguish diseases from their chronic forms, such as chronic leukemia, or to highlight the sudden onset of the disease, such as acute myocardial infarct. 
Associated terms may include:
- Acute on chronic, referring to an acute exacerbation of a chronic condition. It is applied to a variety of conditions, including: liver failure, subdural hematoma, renal failure respiratory failure, and bronchitis
- Acute on chronic inflammation, a term sometimes used in pathology sometimes used to describe a pattern of inflammation which is a mixture of chronic and acute inflammation.[medical citation needed] It may be seen in asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic peptic ulcer, chronic periodontitis, tuberculosis, tonsillitis and other conditions.
- Subacute, a poorly-defined state between acute and chronic, for example subacute endocarditis, or subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.
- Chronic, referring to a long-term condition.
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.
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- Mosby's medical dictionary : illustrated in full color throughout. (5. ed. ed.). St. Louis: Mosby. 1998. ISBN 0815146310.
- Wlodzimirow, KA; Eslami, S; Abu-Hanna, A; Nieuwoudt, M; Chamuleau, RA (2013 Jan). "A systematic review on prognostic indicators of acute on chronic liver failure and their predictive value for mortality.". Liver international : official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver 33 (1): 40–52. PMID 22429562.
- Graziadei, IW (2011 Sep). "The clinical challenges of acute on chronic liver failure.". Liver international : official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver. 31 Suppl 3: 24–6. PMID 21824280.
- Lee, KS; Shim, JJ; Yoon, SM; Doh, JW; Yun, IG; Bae, HG (2011 Dec). "Acute-on-Chronic Subdural Hematoma: Not Uncommon Events.". Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society 50 (6): 512–6. PMID 22323938.
- Dear, JW; Yuen, PS (2008 Jul). "Setting the stage for acute-on-chronic kidney injury.". Kidney international 74 (1): 7–9. PMID 18560361.
- Ambrosino, N; Gherardi, M; Carpenè, N (2009). "End stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.". Pneumonologia i alergologia polska 77 (2): 173–9. PMID 19462352.
- Goldring, JJ; Wedzicha, JA (2008 Aug). "Managing acute on chronic respiratory failure: a guide to non-invasive ventilation.". British journal of hospital medicine 69 (8): 444–9. PMID 18783091.
- Newaskar, Manisha; Hardy, Karen A.; Morris, Claudia R. (1 January 2011). "Asthma in Sickle Cell Disease". The Scientific World JOURNAL 11: 1138–1152. doi:10.1100/tsw.2011.105.
- Wakefield, D; Kumar RK (2001). Inflammation: chronic (Encyclopedia of life sciences). Nature Publishing Group.
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