Standardized reporting of appendicitis-related findings improves reliability of ultrasound in diagnosing appendicitis in children.
Purpose: Our objective was to increase ultrasound reliability for diagnosing appendicitis in an academic children's hospital emergency department (ED) through a multidisciplinary quality improvement initiative.
Methods: A retrospective review of ultrasound use in patients diagnosed with appendicitis in our ED from 1/1/2011 to 6/30/2014 established a baseline cohort. From 8/1/2014 to 7/31/2015 a diagnostic algorithm that prioritized ultrasound over CT was used in our ED, and a standardized template was implemented for the reporting of appendicitis-related ultrasound findings by our radiologists.
Results: Of 627 patients diagnosed with appendicitis in the ED during the retrospective review, 46.1% (n=289) had an ultrasound. After implementation of the diagnostic algorithm and standardized ultrasound report, 88.4% (n=236) of 267 patients diagnosed with appendicitis had an ultrasound (p<0.01). The frequency of indeterminate results decreased from 44.3% to 13.1%, and positive results increased from 46.4% to 66.1% in patients with appendicitis (p<0.01). The sensitivity of ultrasound (indeterminate counted as negative) increased from 50.6% to 69.2% (p<0.01).
Conclusions: Ultrasound reliability for the diagnosis of appendicitis in children can be improved through standardized results reporting. However, these changes should be made as part of a multidisciplinary quality improvement initiative to account for the initial learning curve necessary to increase experience.
Level of evidence: Level II, Study of Diagnostic Test.
Journal of pediatric surgery
Algorithms; Appendicitis; Child; Clinical Protocols; Emergency Service, Hospital; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Humans; Male; Prospective Studies; Quality Improvement; Reproducibility of Results; Retrospective Studies; Sensitivity and Specificity; Tomography, X-Ray Computed; Ultrasonography
Appendicitis; Children; Pediatric surgery; Ultrasound
Sola, R., Theut, S. B., Sinclair, K. A., Rivard, D. C., Johnson, K. M., Zhu, H., St Peter, S. D., Shah, S. R. Standardized reporting of appendicitis-related findings improves reliability of ultrasound in diagnosing appendicitis in children. Journal of pediatric surgery 53, 984-987 (2018).