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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