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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 21(6); 2010 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 2010;21(6): 844-850.
The Effectiveness of a Repeatedly Checked Alvarado Score as a Screening Tool for Acute Appendicitis
Jong Han Jeon, Gun Bae Kim, Je Hyeok Oh, Shin Ho Lee
1Department of Emergency Medicine, Ilsan Hospital, National Health Insurance Corporation, Goyang, Korea. yuki6131@hotmail.com
2Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon, Korea.
Acute appendicitis is one of the more challenging disease entities to diagnose. Early and correct diagnosis is necessary to decrease morbidity and mortality. The diagnosis of acute appendicitis does not depend on a single modality because it is often difficult and the symptoms of appendicitis can change with time. The Alvarado score is a sensitive and specific tool for diagnosis of appendicitis. But the effectiveness of a single Alvarado score for diagnosis of acute appendicitis can be less meaningful due to diagnostic difficulties. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of repeatedly checked Alvarado scores in acute abdomen patients as a diagnostic tool for acute appendicitis.
A total of 196 patents who visited our ER with acute abdominal pain between March 2008 and February 2009 were enrolled. Emergency physicians checked the initial Alvarado score and re-checked that score after 3 hours of observation. We prospectively compared the results between (a) the initial and the 3 hours Alvarado scores and (b) the final pathology.
We measured diagnostic for the initial Alvarado score and the 3 hours Alvarado score groups. The sensitivities of the two groups for detecting appendcitis were 85.1% and 92.0%, respectively; specificities were 81.6% and 89.0%; positive predictive values were 78.7% and 87.0%; negative predictive values were 87.3% and 93.3%; accuracy scores were 83.2% and 90.3%. All diagnostic values of the 3 hours Alvarado score group were superior to those of the initial Alvarado score group.
Repeatedly checked Alvarado scores provides a superior diagnostic accuracy to the initial Alvarado score alone. Thus, we can say that repeatedly checked 3 hours Alvarado scores are more useful for diagnosing acute appendicitis than an initial, one-time checking of the Alvarado score. This new scoring system will be particularly useful to physicians who are working in health care facilities where computerized tomography or ultra-sonography is not available.
Key words: Severity of illness index, Appendicitis, Differential diagnosis
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