CT scans change the initial treatment plans of emergency physicians in over ¼ of patients with suspected appendicitis, according to a study performed at the University of Washington Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA.
During the study 100 adult patients admitted to the ER for symptoms of appendicitis were evaluated. The treatment plans of these patients were assessed before and after CT and compared. Results showed that “treatment plans changed in 29% of patients as a result of CT. In many instances, CT ruled out appendicitis when the treatment plan prior to the scan was surgical consultation, eliminating the potential for unnecessary surgery on patients with a normal appendix,” according to Robert O. Nathan, MD, lead author of the study.
“The data suggest that CT can be withheld in patients in whom emergency clinicians rate the likelihood of appendicitis as unlikely but that CT findings are often of benefit when appendicitis is judged to be very likely,” said Dr. Nathan.
“Patients can be assured that CT scanning of the appendix adds value to therapeutic decision making, thereby improving their care,” said Dr. Nathan.
- Nathan, Robert O., Blackmore, C. Craig, Jarvik, Jeffrey G. Therapeutic Impact of CT of the Appendix in a Community Hospital Emergency Department. American Journal of Roentgenology, 2008; 191 (4): 1102 DOI: 10.2214/AJR.07.3466
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