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Sonography of acute appendicitis in pregnancy

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Clinical evaluation of acute appendicitis is difficult in pregnant patients. Delay in diagnosis is associated with increased fetal mortality. The purpose of our study was to assess the value of sonography in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis in pregnant women.


We obtained sonograms in 22 pregnant women suspected of acute appendicitis. All sonograms were performed using graded-compression to detect an enlarged appendix. The sonographic criteria for acute appendicitis were detection of a noncompressible blindended and tubular multilayered structure of maximal diameter greater than 6 mm.


The sonographic findings were correlated with surgical findings in seven cases and clinical follow-up in 15 cases. Acute appendicitis was diagnosed by sonography in three of 22 patients, and in all but one was confirmed by surgical and pathologic findings. In the remaining 19 patients, 15 improved on clinical follow-up; three were shown to have a normal appendix at surgery and one had focal acute inflammation at the tip of the appendix.


Our experience suggests that graded-compression sonography is a useful procedure in pregnant patients suspected of acute appendicitis and has a similar accuracy as in nonpregnant women, especially in the first and second trimester.

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Barloon, T.J., Brown, B.P., Abu-Yousef, M.M. et al. Sonography of acute appendicitis in pregnancy. Abdom Imaging 20, 149–151 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00201525

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Key words

  • Appendicitis, sonography
  • Appendicitis, pregnancy