"The decision to forego surgery in these patients often results in missed appendicitis, with a possible increased risk of perforation," said study co-author Emily M. Webb, M.D., assistant professor of clinical radiology at the University of California, San Francisco.
Acute appendicitis, which occurs when the appendix — a small, tube-like structure attached to the large intestine — becomes blocked and inflamed, requires prompt surgical removal. Left untreated, an inflamed appendix will eventually perforate, or burst, spilling infectious materials into the abdominal cavity, which can be life-threatening. In the less common chronic and recurrent appendicitis, patients experience milder symptoms that may come and go. According to the National Institutes of Health, appendicitis can affect anyone, but is more common among people 10 to 30 years old. Appendicitis leads to more emergency abdominal surgeries than any other cause.
For the study, the researchers reviewed CT reports and medical records of 2,283 patients who underwent CT for suspected appendicitis at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center between 2002 and 2007. Patients in the study included 856 men and 1,427 women between the ages of 18 and 99 years old with a mean age of 46.
"We wanted to look at patients with a positive CT scan but atypical clinical symptoms who did not have their appendix immediately removed," Dr. Webb said.
Of the study's 2,283 patients, 516, or 23 percent, had CT findings that indicated a probable or definite appendicitis. Of those 516 patients, 450 (87 percent) had their appendix surgically removed within four days. Ninety-five percent of those cases were confirmed as acute appendicitis.
Forty-nine (10%) of 516 patients had nonsurgical treatment, including antibiotics or percutaneous abscess drainage. An additional four of 516 patients were lost to follow up.
Thirteen (three percent) of the 516 patients with positive CT findings did not receive immediate surgical treatment because their symptoms — including a normal appetite, absence of nausea and vomiting, normal white blood cell count and mild or resolving pain — were atypical for acute appendicitis. Of those, five (38 percent) ultimately had their appendix removed after seeking treatment for the same symptoms an average of four months later. Appendicitis was confirmed in all cases.
"The results of our study confirm that CT is a good diagnostic tool for appendicitis and that surgeons should be wary of dismissing positive CT findings," Dr. Webb said. "Prompt treatment of chronic or recurrent appendicitis can prevent patients from developing complications or other future ill effects."
The study's findings may also help explain the disparity between CT results that indicate appendicitis and patient symptoms that do not.
"When the appendix is not completely obstructed, it can result in a milder form of appendicitis that is chronic or recurring," Dr. Webb said. "But the three forms of appendicitis, acute, chronic and recurrent, are indistinguishable on CT scans.
"Acute Appendicitis: Clinical Outcome in Patients with an Initial False-Positive CT Diagnosis." Collaborating with Dr. Webb were Joseph W. Stengel, D.O., Liina Poder, M.D., Benjamin M. Yeh, M.D., Rebecca Smith-Bindman, M.D., and Fergus V. Coakley, M.D.
Radiology is edited by Herbert Y. Kressel, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., and owned and published by the Radiological Society of North America, Inc. (http://radiology.RSNA.org/)
RSNA is an association of more than 44,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists committed to excellence in patient care through education and research. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Ill. (RSNA.org)
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences