Section 48
Chapter 47,875

Unenhanced helical CT scanning of the abdomen and pelvis changes disposition of patients presenting to the emergency department with possible acute appendicitis

Christopher, F.L.; Lane, M.J.; Ward, J.A.; Morgan, J.Alan.

Journal of Emergency Medicine 23(1): 1-7


ISSN/ISBN: 0736-4679
PMID: 12217464
DOI: 10.1016/s0736-4679(02)00453-5
Accession: 047874693

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This study sought to determine if obtaining an unenhanced abdominopelvic computed tomography (UHCT) scan alters the disposition of patients presenting to the Emergency Department (ED) with signs and symptoms of acute appendicitis. A convenience sample of 101 patients presenting with a clinical picture suggestive of appendicitis were prospectively enrolled. Emergency physicians (EPs) and general surgeons independently recorded their anticipated disposition of each patient as: discharge, admit for observation, or admit for appendectomy. A UHCT scan was then obtained and the patient's ultimate disposition recorded. EPs altered their dispositions after UHCT scanning in 35 patients (34.7%, 95% CI 25.4% to 44.0%), and general surgeons altered their dispositions in 27 patients (26.7%, 95% CI 18.1% to 35.3%). More patients underwent operative intervention than were originally selected by EPs [14 additional patients, (13.9%, 95% CI 7.1% to 20.6%)] or by surgeons [20 additional patients, (19.8%, 95% CI 12.0% to 27.6%)]. CT scan revealed alternative diagnoses in 20 patients (19.8%). UHCT scanning significantly alters patient disposition, and significantly increases the number of operative interventions performed in patients with suspected appendicitis. UHCT scanning may also identify alternate pathology that clinically mimics appendicitis.

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