What are the risk factors for appendicitis?
How is appendicitis diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for appendicitis may include the following:
- Blood tests (to check for signs of infection such as elevated white blood cell count)
- Urine tests (to rule out a urinary tract infection)
- Imaging procedures, including the following:
- Abdominal ultrasound - a diagnostic imaging technique which uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function, and to assess blood flow through various vessels.
- Computed tomography scan of the abdomen, with or without barium (Also called a CT or CAT scan.) - a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.
- Lower GI (gastrointestinal) series (also called barium enema) - a procedure that examines the rectum, the large intestine, and the lower part of the small intestine. A fluid called barium (a metallic, chemical, chalky, liquid used to coat the inside of organs so that they will show up on an x-ray) is given into the rectum as an enema. An x-ray of the abdomen shows strictures (narrowed areas), obstructions (blockages), and other problems.
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