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Samantha Schmidt

For Release: October 1, 2008

CT Scans Change Treatment Plans in More Than a Quarter of ER Patients with Suspected Appendicitis

CT scans change the initial treatment plans of emergency physicians in over ¼ of patients with suspected appendicitis, according to a study performed at the University of Washington Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA.

During the study 100 adult patients admitted to the ER for symptoms of appendicitis were evaluated. The treatment plans of these patients were assessed before and after CT and compared. Results showed that “treatment plans changed in 29% of patients as a result of CT. In many instances, CT ruled out appendicitis when the treatment plan prior to the scan was surgical consultation, eliminating the potential for unnecessary surgery on patients with a normal appendix,” according to Robert O. Nathan, MD, lead author of the study.

“The data suggest that CT can be withheld in patients in whom emergency clinicians rate the likelihood of appendicitis as unlikely but that CT findings are often of benefit when appendicitis is judged to be very likely,” said Dr. Nathan.

“Patients can be assured that CT scanning of the appendix adds value to therapeutic decision making, thereby improving their care,” said Dr. Nathan.

This study appears in the October issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology. For a copy of the full study, please contact Heather Curry via email at

Click here for the abstract

About ARRS

The American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) was founded in 1900 and is the oldest radiology society in the United States. Its monthly journal, the American Journal of Roentgenology, began publication in 1906. Radiologists from all over the world attend the ARRS annual meeting to participate in instructional courses, scientific paper presentations and scientific and commercial exhibits related to the field of radiology. The Society is named after the first Nobel Laureate in Physics, Wilhelm Röentgen, who discovered the x-ray in 1895.


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