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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

CT for suspected appendicitis in children: an analysis of diagnostic errors.

Taylor GA, Callahan MJ, Rodriguez D, et al. Pediatric radiology. 2006;36:331-7.

This study determined that abdominal CT scan represents a reliable method for evaluating patients with suspected appendicitis at an error rate of 3.1%. The majority of diagnostic errors attributed to this approach involved mostly false-positive interpretations. Based on analysis of imaging, clinical, and pathological data on more than 1200 patients with suspected appendicitis, investigators noted that presence of specific imaging findings (ie, greater than 6 mm appendix or fat stranding) were sensitive but not definitive for making the diagnosis. The authors suggest that the gold standard of diagnosis lies in the pathological findings, which should be used to understand true positive imaging findings. A similar study also tried to make the connection between clinical performance in diagnosis using pathological data.