Appendicitis is a common presentation in the Emergency Department. Dilemmas arise when deciding whether to image patients with equivocal symptoms and WBC lab results. Given the risk of ionizing radiation with CT scans, we should ideally minimize the number of CT scans ordered in these patients without mistakenly sending patients home with an early appendicitis. A perforated appendix places the patient at risk for bowel obstruction, infertility (in women), and sepsis.
Where does the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) stand on the critical issues surrounding the evaluation of appendicitis?
This installment of the Paucis Verbis (In a Few Words) e-card series reviews the ACEP Clinical Policy on Appendicitis. In the end, the policy conjures up more questions than answers, but a comprehensive presentation of the literature to date and helpful risk-stratification data are provided.
PV Card: ACEP Clinical Policy on Appendicitis
Adapted from  Go to ALiEM (PV) Cards for more resources.
- Howell J, Eddy O, Lukens T, et al. Clinical policy: Critical issues in the evaluation and management of emergency department patients with suspected appendicitis. Ann Emerg Med. 2010;55(1):71-116. [PubMed]