JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Using unenhanced helical CT with enteric contrast material for suspected appendicitis in patients treated at a community hospital.

OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the accuracy of unenhanced helical CT with enteric contrast material in the diagnosis of appendicitis in children and adults treated at a community hospital.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Over an 8-month period, 100 consecutive patients with right lower quadrant pain and suspected appendicitis were prospectively evaluated. Thin-collimation helical CT scanning was performed after administration of enteric contrast material. CT interpretations were correlated with surgical pathology (45 patients) and clinical follow-up (55 patients).

RESULTS: The findings of 33 CT scans were interpreted as positive for appendicitis (29 true-positives and four false-positives), and the findings of 67 were interpreted as negative for appendicitis (66 true-negatives and one false-negative). Sensitivity was 97%, specificity was 94%, accuracy was 95%, positive predictive value was 88%, and negative predictive value was 99%. In the 67 CT scans with negative findings for appendicitis, an alternative diagnosis was made for 36 patients (54%).

CONCLUSION: Unenhanced helical CT with enteric contrast material for the evaluation of appendicitis can be implemented in a community hospital. In our study, such imaging achieved excellent accuracy.

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