Diagnostic Accuracy of MRI Very Similar to CT for Young Appendicitis Patients

Leesburg, VA, October 18, 2017—The diagnostic accuracy of MRI to diagnose appendicitis in children and young adults is very similar to CT, with no statistically significant difference in accuracy observed between imaging modality or radiologist subspecialty, according to an article in the October 2017 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR).

Appendicitis is frequently diagnosed in the emergency department, most commonly using CT. However, given the concern regarding the ionizing radiation exposure associated with CT scans, radiation-free imaging modalities, including ultrasound (US) and MRI, have been proposed as alternate first-line tests, especially for children. The authors, led by Sonja Kinner of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, sought to compare the diagnostic accuracy of contrast-enhanced MRI with that of contrast-enhanced CT for the diagnosis of appendicitis in adolescents when interpreted by abdominal radiologists and pediatric radiologists.

“We did not find a statistically significant difference in the test characteristics of MRI for the diagnosis of appendicitis when interpreted by abdominal radiologists versus pediatric radiologists,” the authors stated.“Interpretation times for MRI were longer than CT, but there was no statistically significant difference in interpretation time when comparing abdominal radiologists to pediatric radiologists.”

When using only unenhanced MRI, pediatric radiologists showed improved sensitivity and specificity compared with abdominal radiologists, the authors said.

“Training radiologists to read MR images for possible appendicitis may further increase their diagnostic accuracy,” the authors stated.

Founded in 1900, ARRS is the first and oldest radiology society in the United States, and is an international forum for progress in radiology. The Society's mission is to improve health through a community committed to advancing knowledge and skills in radiology. ARRS achieves its mission through an annual scientific and educational meeting, publication of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) and InPractice magazine, topical symposia and webinars, and print and online educational materials. ARRS is located in Leesburg, VA.