ROCHESTER, Minn. — Implementation of an algorithm aimed to diagnose pediatric patients with suspected appendicitis reduces the utilization of computed tomography (CT) scans, without affecting diagnostic accuracy, Mayo Clinic Children's Center researchers have found. The study was recently published in the journal Surgery.
Acute appendicitis is the most common cause of acute abdominal pain in children. Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes inflamed and filled with pus. CT scans are often used to diagnose acute appendicitis because they are accurate, widely available and have the ability to provide clinicians with advanced information in appendicitis cases suspected of complications.
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However, CT scans are expensive and expose patients to ionizing radiation. “This algorithm was developed by a multidisciplinary group of pediatric emergency room physicians, pediatric surgeons and radiologists to eliminate unnecessary exposure to radiation,” explains Michael B. Ishitani, M.D., lead author of the study.