Does this child have appendicitis?

Department of Surgery, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor: 30.39). 08/2007; 298(4):438-51. DOI: 10.1001/jama.298.4.438
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Evaluation of abdominal pain in children can be difficult. Rapid, accurate diagnosis of appendicitis in children reduces the morbidity of this common cause of pediatric abdominal pain. Clinical evaluation may help identify (1) which children with abdominal pain and a likely diagnosis of appendicitis should undergo immediate surgical consultation for potential appendectomy and (2) which children with equivocal presentations of appendicitis should undergo further diagnostic evaluation.
To systematically assess the precision and accuracy of symptoms, signs, and basic laboratory test results for evaluating children with possible appendicitis.
We searched English-language articles in MEDLINE (January 1966-March 2007) and the Cochrane Database, as well as physical examination textbooks and bibliographies of retrieved articles, yielding 2521 potentially relevant articles.
Studies were included if they (1) provided primary data on children aged 18 years or younger in whom the diagnosis of appendicitis was considered; (2) presented medical history data, physical examination findings, or basic laboratory data; and (3) confirmed or excluded appendicitis by surgical pathologic findings, clinical observation, or follow-up. Of 256 full-text articles examined, 42 met inclusion criteria.
Twenty-five of 42 studies were assigned a quality level of 3 or better. Data from these studies were independently extracted by 2 reviewers.
In children with abdominal pain, fever was the single most useful sign associated with appendicitis; a fever increases the likelihood of appendicitis (likelihood ratio [LR], 3.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.4-4.8) and conversely, its absence decreases the chance of appendicitis (LR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.16-0.64). In select groups of children, in whom the diagnosis of appendicitis is suspected and evaluation undertaken, rebound tenderness triples the odds of appendicitis (summary LR, 3.0; 95% CI, 2.3-3.9), while its absence reduces the likelihood (summary LR, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.14-0.55). Midabdominal pain migrating to the right lower quadrant (LR range, 1.9-3.1) increases the risk of appendicitis more than right lower quadrant pain itself (summary LR, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.0-1.5). A white blood cell count of less than 10,000/microL decreases the likelihood of appendicitis (summary LR, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.17-0.30), as does an absolute neutrophil count of 6750/microL or lower (LR, 0.06; 95% CI, 0.03-0.16). Symptoms and signs are most useful in combination, particularly for identifying children who do not require further evaluation or intervention.
Although the clinical examination does not establish a diagnosis of appendicitis with certainty, it is useful in determining which children with abdominal pain warrant immediate surgical evaluation for consideration of appendectomy and which children may warrant further diagnostic evaluation. More child-specific, age-stratified data are needed to improve the utility of the clinical examination for diagnosing appendicitis in children.

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    ABSTRACT: With previous methods based on only age and location, there are many difficulties in identifying the etiology of acute abdominal pain in children. We sought to develop a new systematic classification of acute abdominal pain and to give some helps to physicians encountering difficulties in diagnoses. From March 2005 to May 2010, clinical data were collected retrospectively from 442 children hospitalized due to acute abdominal pain with no apparent underlying disease. According to the final diagnoses, diseases that caused acute abdominal pain were classified into nine groups. The nine groups were group I "catastrophic surgical abdomen" (7 patients, 1.6%), group II "acute appendicitis and mesenteric lymphadenitis" (56 patients, 12.7%), group III "intestinal obstruction" (57 patients, 12.9%), group IV "viral and bacterial acute gastroenteritis" (90 patients, 20.4%), group V "peptic ulcer and gastroduodenitis" (66 patients, 14.9%), group VI "hepatobiliary and pancreatic disease" (14 patients, 3.2%), group VII "febrile viral illness and extraintestinal infection" (69 patients, 15.6%), group VIII "functional gastrointestinal disorder (acute manifestation)" (20 patients, 4.5%), and group IX "unclassified acute abdominal pain" (63 patients, 14.3%). Four patients were enrolled in two disease groups each. Patients were distributed unevenly across the nine groups of acute abdominal pain. In particular, the "unclassified abdominal pain" only group was not uncommon. Considering a systemic classification for acute abdominal pain may be helpful in the diagnostic approach in children.
    12/2014; 17(4):223-31. DOI:10.5223/pghn.2014.17.4.223
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    ABSTRACT: Appendicitis is a common condition presenting to the emergency department (ED). Increasingly emergency physicians (EP) are using bedside ultrasound (BUS) as an adjunct diagnostic tool. Our objective is to investigate the test characteristics of BUS for the diagnosis of appendicitis and identify components of routine ED workup and BUS associated with the presence of appendicitis. Patients four years of age and older presenting to the ED with suspected appendicitis were eligible for enrollment. After informed consent was obtained, BUS was performed on the subjects by trained EPs who had undergone a minimum of one-hour didactic training on the use of BUS to diagnose appendicitis. They then recorded elements of clinical history, physical examination, white blood cell count (WBC) with polymophonuclear percentage (PMN), and BUS findings on a data form. We ascertained subject outcomes by a combination of medical record review and telephone follow-up. A total of 125 subjects consented for the study, and 116 had adequate image data for final analysis. Prevalence of appendicitis was 40%. Mean age of the subjects was 20.2 years, and 51% were male. BUS was 100% sensitive (95% CI 87-100%) and 32% specific (95% CI 14-57%) for detection of appendicitis, with a positive predictive value of 72% (95% CI 56-84%), and a negative predictive value of 100% (95% CI 52-100%). Assuming all non-diagnostic studies were negative would yield a sensitivity of 72% and specificity of 81%. Subjects with appendicitis had a significantly higher occurrence of anorexia, nausea, vomiting, and a higher WBC and PMN count when compared to those without appendicitis. Their BUS studies were significantly more likely to result in visualization of the appendix, appendix diameter >6mm, appendix wall thickness >2mm, periappendiceal fluid, visualization of the appendix tip, and sonographic Mcburney's sign (p<0.05). In subjects with diagnostic BUS studies, WBC, PMN, visualization of appendix, appendix diameter >6mm, appendix wall thickness >2mm, periappendiceal fluid were found to be predictors of appendicitis on logistic regression. BUS is moderately useful for appendicitis diagnosis. We also identified several components in routine ED workup and BUS that are associated with appendicitis generating hypothesis for future studies.
    The western journal of emergency medicine 11/2014; 15(7):808-15. DOI:10.5811/westjem.2014.9.21491
  • Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira 01/2013; 59(1):85-92. DOI:10.1590/S0104-42302013000100016 · 0.92 Impact Factor


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