Appendicitis in pregnant women

Surgeons are typically aggressive with suspected appendicitis in pregnant women, as a CT scan would expose the fetus to excess radiation. However, a recent study suggests that the complications from a “negative appendectomy” are still significant:

New research published in the October issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons suggests that pregnant women suspected of having appendicitis are often misdiagnosed and undergo unnecessary appendectomies (removal of the appendix) that can result in early delivery or loss of the fetus. The study points to the need to require more accurate diagnosis to avoid unnecessary operations and the potential for fetal loss.

It suggests an ultrasound (probably not sensitive enough) or an MRI for further evaluation before heading to surgery.

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  • Anonymous

    In 2004 I went to the E.R. complaining of severe abdominal pain. I had an ultrasound and a pregnancy test along with blood tests etc. ALL of the tests were NORMAL except for my pregnancy test which was positive. The ultra sound revealed a mass outside of my uterus and the Dr. was unable to see one of my fallopian tubes. They admitted me under the assumtion of ectopic pregnancy and placed me on a morphine I.V. The next A.M. the admitting O.B.G.Y.N. advised me to be released. My family argued and the head of O.B.G.Y.N. was called in for a consult. He palpated my abdomen and advised emergency laprascopic surgery which revealed I had appendicitis. They removed my appendix, which had ruptured and created peritonitis and I ending up loosing my baby. I just thought I would add my story to your post. The tests in my case were not good enough.

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