The significance of a “positive” rectal examination in acute appendicitis

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The results of rectal examinations of 495 patients with suspected acute appendicitis were correlated with six other variables from the patients' histories and results of physical examinations. Positive rectal examination results were recorded for 46 per cent of all patients with acute appendicitis and for 53 per cent of those with normal appendices. The diagnosis of acute appendicitis should not be based solely or primarily on the results of the rectal examination. The examination should, however, be performed in all suspected cases of appendicitis to rule out gynecologic and urologic disease. “If you don't put your finger in, you put your foot in it.” - H. Bailey, 19732

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