Computed Tomographic Scan Diagnosis of Appendicitis in Children by Pediatric and Adult Radiologists

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Computed tomographic (CT) scans are an accepted radiographic mode to the diagnosis of appendicitis. Radiologists play a critical role in its diagnostic accuracy. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is a difference in the diagnostic accuracy between pediatric and general radiologists interpreting pediatric abdominal/pelvic CT scans for appendicitis.


Computed tomographic scans of 10 patients (5 with appendicitis and 5 without appendicitis) were presented on a password-protected Web site. Radiologists rated the CT scans for the likelihood of appendicitis on a grading scale from 1 to 5.


This is a report of data from 6 pediatric radiologists and 13 general radiologists. For appendicitis cases, the pediatric radiologists gave a “positive” interpretation in 26 (87%) of the cases, whereas the general radiologists gave a “positive” interpretation in 57 (89%) of the cases. Of the true positives, pediatric radiologists rated 25 (96%) of 26 as a high likelihood of appendicitis with a score of 1, whereas general radiologists rated 44 (77%) of 57 as high likelihood. In cases without appendicitis, the pediatric radiologists had a true negative interpretation rate of 83%, and the general radiologists had a true negative interpretation rate of 73%. Of the true negatives, pediatric radiologists rated 22 (88%) of 25 with a rating of 4, being “no appendicitis,” whereas the general radiologists rated 39 (85%) of 46 with a rating of 4.


There is a similar accuracy rate in the interpretation of CT scans positive for appendicitis between general and pediatric radiologists, but pediatric radiologists were more definitive.

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