How useful is digital rectal exam (DRE) in the evaluation of suspected appendicitis?

Updated: Jul 23, 2018
  • Author: Sandy Craig, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

There is no evidence in the medical literature that the digital rectal examination (DRE) provides useful information in the evaluation of patients with suspected appendicitis; however, failure to perform a rectal examination is frequently cited in successful malpractice claims. In 2008, Sedlak et al studied 577 patients who underwent DRE as part of an evaluation for suspected appendicitis and found no value as a means of distinguishing patients with and without appendicitis. [17]


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