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ACC Poh, M Lin, HS Teh, AGS Tan
Correspondence: Dr A C C Poh; firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction To study the role of contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen and pelvis in the evaluation of patients with clinically-suspected but equivocal acute appendicitis.
Methods The medical records of 206 consecutive patients who had CT of the abdomen and pelvis for equivocal signs and symptoms of acute appendicitis were reviewed. 7 mm collimated axial sections from the diaphragm to the iliac crest and 5mm collimated sections of the pelvis with intravenous and oral contrast were obtained. The criteria used to diagnose acute appendicitis were: (a) a thickened appendix of more than 7 mm or (b) inflammatory changes in the periappendiceal fat. The CT findings were correlated with the histological diagnosis at appendectomy. If the CT findings were negative for acute appendicitis and surgery not performed, the results were correlated with other corroborating diagnostic investigations or clinical follow-up.
Results A total of 206 patients were scanned, of which 39 were excluded due to lack of any follow-up. Of the final 167 that were studied, there were 36 true positives, 127 true negatives, 4 false negatives and no false positives, resulting in a sensitivity of 93.9 percent, specificity of 100 percent and accuracy of 98.5 percent.
Conclusion We have found CT to be a safe, reliable and accurate modality in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis in patients with equivocal presentation.
Keywords: acute abdomen, acute appendicitis, computed tomography
Singapore Med J 2004; 45(8): 379-384