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J Emerg Med. 2012 May;42(5):578-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2011.06.039. Epub 2011 Oct 5.

Charles McBurney: McBurney's point.

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  • 1Stanford/Kaiser Emergency Medicine Residency, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Charles McBurney published a treatise on appendicitis in 1891, in which he described the exact point on the abdomen at which tenderness was maximal in cases of acute appendicitis--the point now known as "McBurney's point." He also described his approach to both the diagnosis and management of appendicitis, which at the time consisted of careful observation, total disuse of the stomach, and early laparotomy. Since 1891, many advances in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis have been made. Emergency physicians evaluating patients with abdominal pain may rely on laboratory studies, particularly the white blood cell count, and abdominal imaging with either ultrasound or computed tomography in addition to the history and physical examination. Despite these advances, tenderness to palpation over McBurney's point remains a key finding on abdominal examination in the assessment of patients with abdominal pain.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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