Appendicolith revealed on CT in children with suspected appendicitis: How specific is it in the diagnosis of appendicitis?

L. H. Lowe, M. W. Penney, L. E. Scheker, Jr Perez R., S. M. Stein, R. M. Heller, Y. Shyr, M. Hernanz-Schulman

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61 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to determine the sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of a diagnosis of appendicitis when CT without enteric contrast material reveals an appendicolith in children with suspected appendicitis. MATERIALS AND METHODS. A retrospective review of children who underwent abdominal CT for suspected appendicitis over a 25-month period was performed to identify patients with an appendicolith. An age-matched group of patients examined for trauma served as controls. RESULTS. CT was performed in 104 children. Appendicitis was present in 60 (58%) of 104 children; 39 (65%) of 60 had an appendicolith. Appendicitis was not present in 44 (42%) of 104; Six (14%) of 44 had an appendicolith. An appendicolith detected on CT had a sensitivity of 65% and a specificity of 86% for the radiologist diagnosing appendicitis. An appendicolith had a positive predictive value of 74% and a negative predictive value of 26%. Among the control population, two (3%) of 74 children had an appendicolith. This number was statistically significant compared with children in the study group with an appendicolith and abdominal pain, but without appendicitis (p = 0.02). CONCLUSION. Although an appendicolith is significantly associated with appendicitis, the detection of an isolated appendicolith on CT is not sufficiently specific to be the sole basis for the diagnosis of acute appendicitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-984
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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