JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Diagnostic value of unenhanced helical CT in adult patients with suspected acute appendicitis.

Clinical diagnosis of appendicitis is usually made on the basis of history, physical examination and laboratory studies. Approximately 30-45% of patients with suspected appendicitis present with atypical clinical and laboratory findings. Recently graded compression ultrasound and thin section unenhanced helical CT have been used to establish diagnosis for patients with suspected acute appendicitis. The purpose of this study was to determine the diagnostic accuracy of thin section unenhanced helical CT protocol in adult patients with suspected acute appendicitis. CT scans obtained when patients presented with right lower quadrant pain and the clinical impression was equivocal for appendicitis were evaluated. Of 296 patients referred for CT, 123 patients subsequently underwent surgery. Appendicitis had been correctly predicted in 104 of 108 patients surgically proven to have appendicitis. Unenhanced helical CT in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis had a sensitivity of 96%, specificity of 98%, positive predictive value of 97% and negative predictive value of 98%. If no definite inflammatory changes are detected, on the basis of our experience we recommend that the patient be monitored clinically, and that thin section unenhanced helical CT is the optimal technique to detect acute appendicitis in adult patients.

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