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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 9(4); 1998 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 1998;9(4): 586-594.
Early Diagnosis of Acute Appendicitis by Use of Ultrasonography in Emergency Department
Byoung Youn Oh, Kyoung Soo Lim, Young Ju Lee, Won Kim, Ok Kyoung Choi
BACKGROUND: In the most of emergency department, the diagnosis of appendicitis has been carried by clinical history, physical examination and plain X-ray. But the diagnostic accuracy by these methods was so low that unnecessary operation was common performed, and sometimes the operation was delayed till the physicians could confirm the acute appendicitis clinically. Although many kinds of diagnostic tools such as CT scan, laparoscope, and etc, we believe that ultrasonography(US) would be a quick and sensitive diagnostic method for the evaluation of acute appendicitis in the Emergency Department.
Forty-seven patients who were clinically suspected as acute appendicitis were evaluated with the grayscaled US by emergency physician. The probe of US was placed on maximal tender point of abdomen, and the appendix image was evaluated while probe was pressed deeply and gentry. When the blind loop was fecund at maximal tender point of abdomen, we evaluated the diameter of appendix, the presence of compressibility, peri-aspen-diceal fluid collection and other mass effect. As soon as the ultrasonographic evidences of the appendicitis were noticed, the operations were done and pathologic report were reviewed later.
Among the forty-seven patients, forty patients were diagnosed as a appendicitis by US, and most common ultrasonic findings were as follows; 1) non-compressible blind loop larger than 5 mm in diameter, 2) wall thickening more than 3 mm, 3) peri-appendiceal fluid collection, 4) periappendiceal mass. Among remaining 7 patients in whom we could not get any positive findings of appendicitis, abdominal CT scan was carried in 2 cases who had direct and rebound tenderness on right lower abdomen, and CT scan showed the evidences of the appendicitis. The other 5 cases without rebound tenderness were observed far 2 hours, and abdominal pain was disappeared lately. Finally forty-two patients were operated and confirmed as acute appendicitis by pathologic reports; 24 were reported as suppurative appendicitis, and 12 cases of gangrenous appendicitis, 3 cases of perforated appendicitis, and 3 cases were peri-appendiceal abscess. The specificity of US in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis was 71.4%, and the sensitivity was 95.2%. CONCLUSIONS : In some patients suspected appendicitis, emergency physicians could diagnosis acute appendicitis accurately and rapidly by use of ultrasonography. Although the US was an actuate imaging modality to diagnosis acute appendicitis and evaluate its complications, we recommend a laparotomy or abdominal Cf scan in the patients with negative US findings in spite of presence of peritoneal irritation signs such as rebound tenderness and/or muscle guarding on right lower abdomen.
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