Pediatric Annals

Feature Article 

Imaging of Suspected Appendicitis: Appropriateness of Various Imaging Modalities

Daniel M. Schwartz, MD

Abstract

When a child presents with right lower quadrant pain, imaging studies are frequently requested to determine the cause of the pain, with the goal of determining if there is a surgical abnormality. When appendicitis is the clinical concern, there are many imaging options available to confirm the diagnosis. In the United States, computed tomography (CT) is the most common cross-sectional radiographic modality utilized, followed by ultrasound (US). Plain radiographs are often obtained but are usually not the only examination obtained because of relatively low sensitivity and specificity for appendicitis (or any other cause of abdominal pain; see Figure 1).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel M. Schwartz, MD, is a Radiologist at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, and Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago.

Address correspondence to: Daniel M. Schwartz, MD, Children’s Memorial Hospital, Department of Medical Imaging, 2300 Children’s Plaza, Box 9, Chicago, IL 60614; 773-880-3520; fax: 773-880-3517; or e-mail dschwartz@childrensmemorial.org.

Dr. Schwartz had disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Abstract

When a child presents with right lower quadrant pain, imaging studies are frequently requested to determine the cause of the pain, with the goal of determining if there is a surgical abnormality. When appendicitis is the clinical concern, there are many imaging options available to confirm the diagnosis. In the United States, computed tomography (CT) is the most common cross-sectional radiographic modality utilized, followed by ultrasound (US). Plain radiographs are often obtained but are usually not the only examination obtained because of relatively low sensitivity and specificity for appendicitis (or any other cause of abdominal pain; see Figure 1).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel M. Schwartz, MD, is a Radiologist at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, and Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago.

Address correspondence to: Daniel M. Schwartz, MD, Children’s Memorial Hospital, Department of Medical Imaging, 2300 Children’s Plaza, Box 9, Chicago, IL 60614; 773-880-3520; fax: 773-880-3517; or e-mail dschwartz@childrensmemorial.org.

Dr. Schwartz had disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

When a child presents with right lower quadrant pain, imaging studies are frequently requested to determine the cause of the pain, with the goal of determining if there is a surgical abnormality. When appendicitis is the clinical concern, there are many imaging options available to confirm the diagnosis. In the United States, computed tomography (CT) is the most common cross-sectional radiographic modality utilized, followed by ultrasound (US). Plain radiographs are often obtained but are usually not the only examination obtained because of relatively low sensitivity and specificity for appendicitis (or any other cause of abdominal pain; see Figure 1).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel M. Schwartz, MD, is a Radiologist at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, and Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago.

Address correspondence to: Daniel M. Schwartz, MD, Children’s Memorial Hospital, Department of Medical Imaging, 2300 Children’s Plaza, Box 9, Chicago, IL 60614; 773-880-3520; fax: 773-880-3517; or e-mail dschwartz@childrensmemorial.org.

Dr. Schwartz had disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

10.3928/00904481-20080601-12

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