Ultrasonography can be efficiently performed using new criteria for the diagnosis of acute appendicitis.
Eighty-nine patients admitted to the hospital with suspected appendicitis between March 1998 and November 2000.
At hospital admission, a staff surgeon evaluated each patient and determined whether the patient had appendicitis requiring immediate surgery or another disease. Patients then underwent ultrasonography. A sonographic transducer was placed on the area of maximal tenderness. When the pathological manifestation was depicted, the examiner slipped a fingertip between the transducer and the patient's skin and then pressed the area of depicted pathological manifestation to find pinpoint tenderness. When maximal pinpoint tenderness was noted on the appendix or on pathological manifestations contiguous to the appendix, we diagnosed the condition as appendicitis.
Main Outcome Measures
Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, and overall accuracy.
The diagnosis of appendicitis by this criteria had a sensitivity of 86.7%, a specificity of 89.7%, a positive predictive value of 94.5%, a negative predictive value of 76.5%, and overall accuracy of 87.6%. All 50 patients with pinpoint tenderness noted on the appendix had appendicitis. The surgeon's initial clinical impression had a sensitivity of 83.3%, a specificity of 44.8%, a positive predictive value of 75.8%, a negative predictive value of 56.5%, and overall accuracy of 70.8%.
The efficacy of ultrasonography using the simple criteria was superior to that of the surgeon's initial clinical impression (P<.001). Our ultrasonographic criteria for the diagnosis of appendicitis are simple to use and efficient.