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J Emerg Med. 2013 Nov;45(5):679-82. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2013.04.050. Epub 2013 Aug 30.

A case of Hickam's dictum: concurrent appendicitis and ectopic pregnancy.

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1
MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC; MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Both ectopic pregnancy and appendicitis are surgical emergencies that should be considered in female patients who present with right lower-quadrant pain. Deciding on the appropriate imaging modality in the pregnant patient can be difficult. The challenge of diagnosis is compounded when one considers that both pathologies may be present simultaneously.

OBJECTIVES:

We present a case demonstrating co-occurrence of ectopic pregnancy and appendicitis and suggest an algorithm for evaluation and management of cases with this presentation.

CASE REPORT:

A 25-year-old woman presented to the Emergency Department complaining of 3 days of abdominal pain and a positive urine pregnancy test. After consultation with Obstetrics/Gynecology (OB/GYN) and General Surgery, a nondiagnostic pelvic ultrasound (US), and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study consistent with appendiceal inflammation, the patient was taken to the operating room for a laparoscopic appendectomy. While removing the inflamed appendix, the general surgeon noted the right fallopian tube was enlarged, suggestive of an ectopic pregnancy. OB/GYN was consulted again intraoperatively and noted a right ectopic pregnancy. The surgical intervention was completed with a right salpingectomy.

CONCLUSION:

In a pregnant patient with right lower-quadrant pain, the differential diagnosis includes ectopic pregnancy, acute appendicitis, or in rare cases, both.

KEYWORDS:

appendicitis; ectopic pregnancy

PMID:
23993940
DOI:
10.1016/j.jemermed.2013.04.050
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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