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J Natl Med Assoc. 1989 Sep;81(9):954-7.

Ultrasound with graded compression in the evaluation of acute appendicitis.


Acute appendicitis is the most common diagnosis made (in the Western world) in patients with an "acute abdomen." Although the mortality rate has been vastly reduced, the diagnostic inaccuracy rate of 15% to 20% has remained unchanged in the past 100 years. In this article, the authors report the ultrasonographic findings in 80 patients examined using a small linear-array transducer, which enables direct visualization of the inflamed appendix. During 22 months, 80 patients (28 males and 52 females; age range, 3 to 81 years; mean, 32.3 years) with equivocal clinical signs and symptoms of acute appendicitis were examined sonographically. Of the 29 patients whose appendicitis was verified at surgery, ultrasonography was positive in 26, with an overall sensitivity of 90%. Of the 51 patients who did not have appendicitis, ultrasonography was negative in all, with a specificity of 100%. The authors concur with reports in the literature that ultrasonography is helpful in diagnosing appendicitis.

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