Diagnosing appendicitis: What works, what does not and where to go from here?

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Abstract

Although acute appendicitis is the most common reason for emergency abdominal surgery in children, diagnosis is far from straightforward. Delays in diagnosis can result in significant complications, whereas over-diagnosis can result in costly inter-hospital transfers and unnecessary surgery. This article aims to describe current evidence-based assessment of children with possible appendicitis presenting to the emergency department. We provide an overview of the literature relating to the various available diagnostic approaches, including the application of history, examination, pathology tests, imaging, and clinical decision rules.

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