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Noncontrast and contrast enhanced computed tomography for diagnosing acute appendicitis: A retrospective study for the usefulness

Free full text article: Noncontrast and contrast enhanced computed tomography for diagnosing acute appendicitis: A retrospective study for the usefulness

Abstract
Abdominal computed tomography (CT) provides great benefits for the differential diagnosis in patients complaining of acute abdominal pain. However, the use of diagnostic X-rays is associated with the cumulative risk of cancer development. In order to determine the relative usefulness of noncontrast and enhanced CT with intravenous contrast material for diagnosing acute appendicitis, the retrospective analysis was performed using 247 patients (46 children and 201 adults) with clinically suspected appendicitis, who were admitted to our hospital from 2002 to 2006 and underwent noncontrast or combined noncontrast and enhanced CT examination. Of 185 patients who were diagnosed to have acute appendicitis with appendiceal thickening (167 cases) or normal-sized appendix (18 cases), 73 cases underwent noncontrast CT alone and these 73 cases could be retrospectively diagnosed to have appendicitis on noncontrast CT. On the other hand, 112 cases of these 185 patients underwent noncontrast CT followed by enhanced CT, and vermiform appendix was detected in 86 cases of them (86/112, 76.8%) on noncontrast CT. These 86 cases could be retrospectively diagnosed to have acute appendicitis on noncontrast CT, whereas enhanced CT was required to detect vermiform appendix and to obtain the final diagnosis of appendicitis in the remaining 26 cases (26/112, 23.2%). Enhanced CT was superior to noncontrast CT in diagnosing appendicitis in all age and any gender groups. We suggest that enhanced, but not noncontrast, CT should be primarily performed for diagnosing acute appendicitis in all patients to minimize the radiation exposure unless intravenous administration of contrast material is contraindicated.






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