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Lim GH, Shabbir A, So JBY
Correspondence: Dr Lim Geok Hoon, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction Acute appendicitis is the commonest cause for right lower abdominal pain. Clinical features, laboratory and imaging investigations are either not very sensitive or specific, and neither is therapeutic. We aimed to define the role of diagnostic laparoscopy in patients with right lower abdominal pain.
Methods Data was collected retrospectively from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2005. Patients admitted to the Emergency Department and subsequently transferred to the Department of Surgery, National University Hospital, Singapore, with right lower abdominal pain and who eventually underwent diagnostic laparoscopy were evaluated.
Results 691 patients with right lower abdominal pain were admitted with suspected diagnosis of appendicitis. Diagnostic laparoscopy was undertaken in 103 patients aged 17-71 years old. Of the 83 females, 78 (94 percent) were premenopausal . Histology-proven acute appendicitis was diagnosed in 78 (75.7 percent) patients. Interestingly, within this group, 25.6 percent had other concomitant pathologies found on laparoscopy. 25 patients had a normal appendix; gynaecological causes accounted for pain in 15 of these 25 (60 percent) cases. In four (3.9 percent) patients, no pathology was found. Complication rate was 1.9 percent, which included ileus in two patients. In 32 (31.1 percent) patients, diagnostic laparoscopy altered the management plan, requiring either intervention or care by a subspecialty.
Conclusion Diagnostic laparoscopy is useful in evaluating patients with right lower abdominal pain, especially in those with equivocal signs of acute appendicitis. It also has the additional benefit of being therapeutic. Premenopausal women benefit the most from this procedure.
Keywords: acute appendicitis, diagnostic laparoscopy, laparoscopic surgery, right lower abdominal pain
Singapore Med J 2008; 49(6): 451-453