How accurate is abdominal exam in diagnosing pediatric appendicitis?

Updated: Dec 02, 2020
  • Author: Simon S Rabinowitz, MD, PhD, FAAP; Chief Editor: Kurt E Roberts, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Performing an abdominal examination in children is more challenging than in adults. A review article examining the published literature on diagnosing pediatric appendicitis failed to find a single study that documented that physical examination provided an acceptable level of sensitivity and specificity to arrive at a correct diagnosis. [8] The cardinal finding of right-lower quadrant pain predicts appendicitis more accurately in adults than in children. However, the authors still concluded that "clinical examination plays a key part in determining which children with abdominal pain should undergo immediate surgical consultation for appendectomy and which children should undergo further diagnostic evaluation, including diagnostic imaging." [8]


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