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Surg Endosc. 2014 Aug;28(8):2398-405. doi: 10.1007/s00464-014-3488-8. Epub 2014 Apr 5.

Impact of the Alvarado score on the diagnosis of acute appendicitis: comparing clinical judgment, Alvarado score, and a new modified score in suspected appendicitis: a prospective, randomized clinical trial.

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Department of Surgery, University of Szeged, Pécsi u. 6, Szeged, 6720, Hungary.



The Alvarado score is a clinical scoring system used in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis. This study aimed to compare the reliability of the Alvarado score and clinical judgment and to refine the score to make it easier to use.


In this prospective, randomized study, patients presenting at the authors' outpatient department with suspected appendicitis during a 1-year period were assigned in weekly alternation to either group A or group B. The group A patients were treated on the basis of their Alvarado score, and the group B patients underwent treatment based on clinical judgment. The correctness of the methods was assessed by evaluation of the final histology. Statistical comparison of the data was performed using SPSS 20.


The study investigated 269 patients (131 in group A and 138 in group B). The groups were homogeneous in terms of mean age, gender, body mass index, and American Society of Anesthesiologists score. The number of negative appendectomies was 12 (9.16%) in group A versus 5 (3.6%) in group B (p = 0.063). The clinical judgment had better specificity and sensitivity than the Alvarado score. For that reason, the specificity of the Alvarado score was refined using statistical methods, with weighting of certain clinical data and inclusion of new ones (e.g., ultrasound investigation). Consequently, the area under the curve by receiver operating characteristic analysis gradually increased, and the Alvarado score became more accurate.


The study findings showed clinical judgment to be more reliable in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis than the Alvarado score, but the score is a useful diagnostic aid, especially for young colleagues. The use of the new scoring system has become easier. It includes fewer criteria as well as an important and sensitive predictor: the ultrasound investigation.

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