Medical Definition of Acute
Acute: Of abrupt onset, in reference to a disease. Acute often also connotes an illness that is of short duration, rapidly progressive, and in need of urgent care.
"Acute" is a measure of the time scale of a disease and is in contrast to "subacute" and "chronic." "Subacute" indicates longer duration or less rapid change. "Chronic" indicates indefinite duration or virtually no change.
Quick GuideWomen's Health: Nutrition and Health Care Reform
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Women's Health Newsletter