Introduction: The chaotic environment of the emergency department has a deleterious effect on clinical judgement. The diagnosis of abdominal pathology is difficult to differentiate. There are also many diagnoses that could be considered abdominal in nature, exacerbating the task of diagnosing these patients. We propose a novel machine-learning method, Hierarchical Structured Models (HSMs), to provide an adjunct to clinician judgement, that provides a ranking of the probabilities of a patient having each of 39 abdominal pathologies, using only variables at the triage stage of emergency department care, and compare its performance to several machine-learning methods. Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of 25,861 patients that presented with one of 39 ICD-9 abdominal pathologies. 90% of the data was used to build and fine-tune the model, and 10% was used for testing. Predictors included age, gender, triage vitals and presenting complaint. All variables were solely collected from the Emergency Department Information System (EDIS). A decision tree structure was built using hierarchical clustering algorithms, and then a support vector machine (SVM) was fit at each node. To optimize the parameters for each node, a grid-search method was used to maximize ten-fold classification accuracy. The output of the decision tree was the probability of a particular presentation having each of the 39 diagnoses. This output was translated to a ranking of the relative likelihood of each of the diagnoses as a suggestion system for the treating physician. The accuracy of the system on the test set was compared to conventional machine-learning methods: pair-wise SVMs, gradient boosted models (GBM), neural networks (NN) and k-nearest neighbours (KNN). Results: The HSM ranked the correct diagnosis first 51.0% of the time, and ranked the correct diagnosis within the top three ranks 67.6% of the time. The most accurate model was GBMs (52.3%), and the least was neural networks (50.4%). Conclusion: The HSM approach using only variables available electronically at triage successfully ranked the correct diagnosis 51.0% of the time, and within the top three 67.6% of the time. Future research will focus on the inclusion of clinically lab results and radiology reports that are available electronically to improve HSM accuracy, and supplement physician diagnosis.