Routine versus selective abdominal computed tomography scan in the evaluation of right lower quadrant pain: a randomized controlled trial.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the role of abdominal computed tomography (CT) imaging in patients with right lower quadrant (RLQ) pain. The authors hypothesized that selective use of abdominal CT would reduce imaging without increasing the rates of negative appendectomy and perforated appendicitis. METHODS: A prospective randomized clinical trial was conducted in a community teaching emergency department. Adult patients with acute RLQ abdominal pain with suspected acute appendicitis were included. Patients were randomized to mandatory (all patients) or selective (based on clinical evaluation) abdominal CT imaging. The primary outcome was the negative appendectomy rate. RESULTS: A total of 152 patients were randomized to selective (n = 80) and mandatory (n = 72) intervention groups. The mean (+/-SD) age was 34.1 (+/-3.5) years, and 48% were female. CT imaging was performed in 54 of 80 patients (68%; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 56% to 78%) in the selective group and in 70 of 72 patients (97%; 95% CI = 90% to 100%) in the mandatory group. There was a trend to a decreased rate of negative appendectomy in the mandatory group (1/39 [2.6%]; 95% CI = 0.5% to 13.2%) as compared with the selective group (6/43 [13.9%]; 95% CI = 6.6% to 27.3%), with a difference in prevalence rates of 11.3% (95% CI = -3.5% to 26.3%). There was also a trend to a decreased perforated appendix rate in the mandatory group (4/39 [10.3%]) as compared with the selective group (7/38 [18.4%]), with a difference in prevalence rates of 8.2% (95% CI = -8.0% to 24.4%). CONCLUSIONS: In this small sample of adult patients with RLQ abdominal pain and suspected acute appendicitis, CT imaging was performed less frequently in the selective group and there was a trend with mandatory CT imaging to reduced rates of negative appendectomy and perforated appendices.
Lee, CC; Golub, R; Singer, AJ; Cantu, R; Levinson, H
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