CT Radiation Risks Outweighed When Preventing, Guiding Acute Appendicitis Surgery

One of the largest studies to date has confirmed the accuracy of CT scans for acute appendicitis in adults, which supports the use of CT for diagnostic and surgical means when risk for radiation exposure is low, according to findings published in a recent AuntMinnie.com article.

Dr. Perry Pickhardt, professor of Radiology at the University of Wisconsin, said that “at least three other studies confirmed that the negative appendectomy rate dropped from more than 20 percent to less than 10 percent with the use of CT… but one thing that was lacking was the actual diagnostic performance or accuracy with MDCT… so we looked at what I think is the largest CT-based cohort for appendicitis.”

Dr. Pickard presented this data at the International Society for Computed Tomography (ISCT) meeting I just attended in San Francisco.

This is a very good example of how CT can accurately prevent surgery when it is not needed while also guiding correct surgery when it will do a lot of good. In this application, CT is cost-effective and does a lot of good – way outweighing any (very low) risk from the radiation. For adults it is the diagnostic exam of choice in situations where signs and symptoms raise concern about possible appendicitis.