Misdiagnosis of acute appendicitis in children attending the emergency department: The experience of a large, tertiary care pediatric hospital

Tut Galai, Osnat Zmora Beloosesky, Dennis Scolnik, Ayelet Rimon, Miguel Glatstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Missed appendicitis is a frequent cause of professional liability for emergency department (ED) physicians. Our objective was to assess and compare the presentations of patients in whom the diagnosis of appendicitis was missed with those in whom it was correctly diagnosed on their first ED visit and to identify the clinical features that characterized the two groups. Methods This study is a retrospective review of all ED children with proven appendicitis between January 2010 and December 2013. Historical, clinical, and laboratory features of patients missed and correctly diagnosed during their first ED visit were compared. The literature on this subject was also reviewed. Results A total of 400 patients were included in this study. Fifteen (3.75[%]) patients were considered to be misdiagnoses, the most common misdiagnosis being acute gastroenteritis (26.6[%]). Thirty-three percent of misdiagnosed patients had undergone an ultrasound compared with 87[%] of correctly diagnosed patients (p < 0.05). Conclusion Our incidence of missed appendicitis compares favorably with the 6.9 to 27.6[%] incidence reported in the literature. Our relatively low incidence may be a result of medical practice, especially during night shifts, and the availability of ultrasound 24 hours a day.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-141
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatric Surgery
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

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