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Med J Islam Repub Iran. 2017 Aug 29;31:48. doi: 10.14196/mjiri.31.48. eCollection 2017.

Accuracy of ultrasonography in diagnosing acute appendicitis during pregnancy based on surgical findings.

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Department of Surgery, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Background: Acute appendicitis is the most common nonobstetric surgical problem in pregnancy. Common signs and symptoms of appendicitis are less reliable during pregnancy due to physiological changes; thus, the role of imaging becomes prominent. Thus, in the present study, we aimed at assessing the accuracy of sonography in diagnosing acute appendicitis during pregnancy. Methods: In this prospective analytic study, among 1000 patients diagnosed and treated as acute appendicitis, clinical and sonographic findings of 58 consecutive pregnant patients, who underwent appendectomy, were recorded and analyzed. All surgically resected samples were evaluated and confirmed through histological evaluation. Sonographic criteria were utilized to judge the results for appendicitis. Diagnostic test performance characteristics (sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, and likelihood ratios) were calculated. Results: The mean age of the patients was 27.1±4.9 years, and the most common clinical symptom was right lower quadrant pain. There was no significant difference in the mean leukocyte count between the appendicitis group and normal appendix group (p=0.768). Left shift was also unrelated with the appendix pathology (p= 0.549). The sensitivity, specificity, predictive values (positive and negative), and likelihood ratios (positive and negative) were 80%, 75%, 91.4%, 52.9%, 3.2, and 0.26, respectively during all trimesters of pregnancy. Conclusion: Ultrasonography is the initially preferred imaging modality in pregnant women suspected of having acute appendicitis with an acceptable sensitivity; however, application of other imaging modalities such as CT scan or MRI is recommended after inconclusive ultrasonography results.


Appendicitis; Likelihood ratio; Predictive value; Sonography; Surgical resection

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