Presurgical appendix scans questioned

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 11, 2007

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Preoperative CT scans for suspected appendicitis should be used selectively, said researchers at Digestive Disease Week 2007 held in Washington, D.C., May 19-24.

Researchers examined the records for 412 adult patients and found that 17% of patients who waited for results of preop scans had perforations, as opposed to 8% of those who went directly to surgery. Of the 410 patients who showed signs of acute appendicitis, 62% had a CT scan before removal of their appendixes.

In addition, patients for whom scans were ordered were older, more likely to be female and had experienced a longer waiting period between admittance and surgery than those not getting scanned.

"CT scan imaging may delay surgery, increasing the likelihood of the appendix rupturing and causing potentially dangerous complications for the patient," said the study's lead author, Herbert Chen, MD, assistant professor in the University of Wisconsin's division of general surgery.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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