Diagnosing Ruptured Appendicitis Preoperatively in Pediatric Patients

Regan Williams, Martin L. Blakely, Peter Fischer, Christian J. Streck, Melvin S. Dassinger, Himesh Gupta, Elizabeth J. Renaud, James Eubanks, Eunice Huang, S. Douglas Hixson, Max Langham

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Abstract

Background: Over the past decade, pediatric patients with ruptured appendicitis (RA) have been successfully treated with IV antibiotics and an interval appendectomy. Because the treatment of acute appendicitis (AA) and RA in children is now diverging, distinguishing between these two conditions preoperatively is critical. Study Design: A prospective cohort study was conducted. Clinical data were collected, and the attending surgeon's preoperative diagnosis was recorded. Accuracy of the pediatric surgeon's diagnosis was determined. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression were then used to determine independent clinical predictors of RA. Using the relative beta coefficients of these predictors, a scoring system was constructed to aid in the diagnosis of RA. Results: Two hundred forty-seven patients were evaluated: 98 AA (40%), 53 RA (21%), and 97 not appendicitis (39%). Median age was 10 years old. The overall accuracy of the pediatric surgeon's preoperative diagnosis was 92%. Sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of RA were 96% and 83%, respectively. Multivariable regression analysis identified generalized tenderness on examination, duration of symptoms longer than 48 hours, WBC > 19,400 cells/μL, abscess, and fecalith on CT scan as independent predictors for RA. A novel scoring system was developed with these variables, and, when applied to the study population, the specificity for the diagnosis of RA improved to 98%. Conclusions: Pediatric surgeons differentiate AA from RA and not appendicitis preoperatively with high accuracy and sensitivity, but the specificity for diagnosing ruptured appendicitis is lower. The scoring system improved the specificity of the preoperative diagnosis. The validity and utility of this scoring system should be examined in future studies in larger patient populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)819-825
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Volume208
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2009

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Appendicitis
Pediatrics
Fecal Impaction
Sensitivity and Specificity
Appendectomy
Abscess
Population

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery

Cite this

Diagnosing Ruptured Appendicitis Preoperatively in Pediatric Patients. / Williams, Regan; Blakely, Martin L.; Fischer, Peter; Streck, Christian J.; Dassinger, Melvin S.; Gupta, Himesh; Renaud, Elizabeth J.; Eubanks, James; Huang, Eunice; Hixson, S. Douglas; Langham, Max.

In: Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Vol. 208, No. 5, 01.05.2009, p. 819-825.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Williams, Regan ; Blakely, Martin L. ; Fischer, Peter ; Streck, Christian J. ; Dassinger, Melvin S. ; Gupta, Himesh ; Renaud, Elizabeth J. ; Eubanks, James ; Huang, Eunice ; Hixson, S. Douglas ; Langham, Max. / Diagnosing Ruptured Appendicitis Preoperatively in Pediatric Patients. In: Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 2009 ; Vol. 208, No. 5. pp. 819-825.
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AU - Blakely, Martin L.

AU - Fischer, Peter

AU - Streck, Christian J.

AU - Dassinger, Melvin S.

AU - Gupta, Himesh

AU - Renaud, Elizabeth J.

AU - Eubanks, James

AU - Huang, Eunice

AU - Hixson, S. Douglas

AU - Langham, Max

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N2 - Background: Over the past decade, pediatric patients with ruptured appendicitis (RA) have been successfully treated with IV antibiotics and an interval appendectomy. Because the treatment of acute appendicitis (AA) and RA in children is now diverging, distinguishing between these two conditions preoperatively is critical. Study Design: A prospective cohort study was conducted. Clinical data were collected, and the attending surgeon's preoperative diagnosis was recorded. Accuracy of the pediatric surgeon's diagnosis was determined. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression were then used to determine independent clinical predictors of RA. Using the relative beta coefficients of these predictors, a scoring system was constructed to aid in the diagnosis of RA. Results: Two hundred forty-seven patients were evaluated: 98 AA (40%), 53 RA (21%), and 97 not appendicitis (39%). Median age was 10 years old. The overall accuracy of the pediatric surgeon's preoperative diagnosis was 92%. Sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of RA were 96% and 83%, respectively. Multivariable regression analysis identified generalized tenderness on examination, duration of symptoms longer than 48 hours, WBC > 19,400 cells/μL, abscess, and fecalith on CT scan as independent predictors for RA. A novel scoring system was developed with these variables, and, when applied to the study population, the specificity for the diagnosis of RA improved to 98%. Conclusions: Pediatric surgeons differentiate AA from RA and not appendicitis preoperatively with high accuracy and sensitivity, but the specificity for diagnosing ruptured appendicitis is lower. The scoring system improved the specificity of the preoperative diagnosis. The validity and utility of this scoring system should be examined in future studies in larger patient populations.

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