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The utility of laparoscopy in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis in women of reproductive age

Abstract

Aim: To see whether laparoscopy improves the accuracy of a clinical diagnosis of acute appendicitis in women of reproductive age, and to determine what the long-term sequelae are of not removing an appendix deemed at laparoscopy to be normal. Method: The initial part of the study was undertaken during 1991–1992. Female patients between 16 and 45 years were eligible for inclusion once a clinical decision had been made to perform an appendicectomy for suspected acute appendicitis. Following consent, patients were randomized into two groups. One group had open appendicectomy, as planned. The other group had laparoscopy, followed by open appendicectomy only if the appendix was seen to be inflamed or was not visualized. The end points for the study were the clinical outcomes of all patients, and the results of histology, where appropriate. An attempt was made to contact all patients at 10 years to determine whether they had had a subsequent appendicectomy, or had been diagnosed with another abdominal condition that might be relevant to the initial presentation in 1991–1992. Results: Laparoscopic assessment was correct in all cases in which the appendix was visualized. Diagnostic accuracy was improved from 75% to 97%. Laparoscopy was associated with no added complications, no increase in hospital stay in patients who went on to appendicectomy, and a reduction in hospital stay for those who underwent laparoscopy alone. No patients developed a problem over the 10-year follow-up period from having a normal-looking appendix not removed at laparoscopy. Conclusion: Laparoscopic assessment of the appendix is reliable, and to leave a normal-looking appendix at laparoscopy does not appear to cause any long-term problems.

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Correspondence to F. A. Frizelle.

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van Dalen, R., Bagshaw, P., Dobbs, B. et al. The utility of laparoscopy in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis in women of reproductive age . Surg Endosc 17, 1311–1313 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-002-8710-4

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Keywords

  • Laparoscopy
  • Appendicitis
  • Randomized controlled trial