Publications & Research

Effect of Computed Tomography of the Appendix on Treatment of Patients and Use of Hospital Resources

In patients with clinically suspected appendicitis,computed tomography (CT) is diagnostically accurate. However,the effect of routine CT of the appendix on the treatment ofsuch patients and the use of hospital resources is unknown.

We performed appendiceal CT on 100 consecutive patientsin the emergency department who, on the basis of history, physicalexamination, and laboratory results, were to be hospitalizedfor observation for suspected appendicitis or for urgent appendectomy.Outcomes were determined at surgery and by pathological examinationin 59 patients, and by clinical follow-up two months later in41 patients. Treatment plans made before CT were compared withthe patients’ actual treatment. We also determined the costsof surgery that revealed no appendicitis (from data on 61 patients),one day of observation in the hospital (from data on 350 patient-daysin patients with suspected appendicitis), and appendiceal CT(from data on all pelvic CT examinations in 1996).

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