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Abdom Radiol (NY). 2019 Jun;44(6):2081-2088. doi: 10.1007/s00261-019-01942-3.

Focused CT for the evaluation of suspected appendicitis.

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Department of Medical Imaging, St Michael's Hospital, 30 Bond Street, Toronto, ON, M5B 1W8, Canada.
Division of General Surgery, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
Department of Medical Imaging, St Michael's Hospital, 30 Bond Street, Toronto, ON, M5B 1W8, Canada.



To determine the diagnostic accuracy of focused appendiceal CT as a feasible alternative to the standard CT of the abdomen and pelvis (CT-AP) in patients with suspected acute appendicitis.


Retrospective review of 200 adults with suspected acute appendicitis between January and October 2016 were included in this study. Each patient underwent CT-AP with oral and intravenous (IV) contrast. A subset of axial images starting at the top of L4 vertebral body to the roof of the acetabula were obtained from each study which served as the focused appendiceal CT. After review of the focused CTs, the non-focused CT-AP scans were reviewed, each patient acting as their own control. Images were assessed for ability to identify the appendix, assess for appendicitis, or identify alternative diagnoses that could account for the presenting symptoms.


Of 200 cases, the appendix was visualized in the focused CT in 191 patients. In nine studies, the appendix was not visualized in focused or standard CT-AP. Using focused CT, 42 cases were positive for acute appendicitis. This result was identical when reviewing standard CT-AP. Alternative diagnoses were present in 38 patients. Using focused CT, 14 of these were not fully covered but the readers were able to make the diagnoses confidently on the focused CTs. Only one patient had acute non-appendiceal pathology mostly outside of the field of view.


Focused appendiceal CT with IV and oral contrast in the setting of clinically suspected appendicitis is a suitable alternative to conventional CT-AP.


Appendicitis; Computed tomography (CT); Dose reduction


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