Increasing computed tomography use for patients with appendicitis and discrepancies in pain management between adults and children: an analysis of the NHAMCS

Daniel S Tsze, Lisa M Asnis, Roland C Merchant, Siraj Amanullah, James G Linakis
Annals of Emergency Medicine 2012, 59 (5): 395-403

STUDY OBJECTIVE: Using a national sample of emergency department (ED) visits, we aim to describe use of CBC, computed tomography (CT), and pain medication among ED visits in which appendicitis was diagnosed. We describe use trends over time and identify use differences between adults and children.

METHODS: The ED component of the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey was analyzed for 1992 through 2006, comprising a sample of 447,011 visits (representing an estimated total of approximately 1.5 billion visits), from which a sample of 1,088 patients (representing an estimated 3.7 million patients) received a diagnosis of appendicitis. The frequency of CBC and CT use and frequency of pain medication administration were determined. Survey-adjusted regression analyses were used to determine the probability of a patient receiving CBC, CT, or pain medication. Use was compared between adults and children.

RESULTS: During the course of the study, from 1996 to 2006, the percentage of patients with appendicitis who received a CT scan increased from 6.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0% to 15.3%) to 69% (95% CI 55.5% to 81.7%) for adults and from 0% to 59.8% (95% CI 31.6% to 87.9%) for children. CBC use for adults increased from 77.2% (95% CI 62.9% to 91.5%) to 92.8% (95% CI 85.8% to 99.7%) and decreased from 89.1% (95% CI 74.9% to 100.0%) to 68.4% (95% CI 41.9% to 94.9%) for children. The use of pain medications increased from 24.8% (95% CI 11.3% to 38.4%) to 69.9% (95% CI 56.7% to 83.1%) for adults and from 27.2% (95% CI 5.7% to 48.8%) to 42.8% (95% CI 18.1% to 67.5%) for children. The proportion of children who received parenteral narcotics (13.7% [95% CI 9.3% to 18.0%]) was less than that of adults (23% [95% CI 18.9% to 27.1%]).

CONCLUSION: CT use has increased for patients with appendicitis over time, and CBC use remains high. There has been an increase in analgesic administration, but more than half of all patients with appendicitis had not received pain medication over the course of the entire study period. Children received fewer parenteral narcotics than adults and appeared to be preferentially treated with nonparenteral nonnarcotic analgesics.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"