Aim: To determine whether there were differences in the clinical presentation of patients imaged to evaluate for acute appendicitis in 2020 compared to 2019 with the hope that this information might better identify patients who should undergo imaging work-up and those who should not. Materials and methods: This retrospective observational study included patients <18 years who were evaluated for appendicitis between 1 March and 31 May 2019 and 2020. A total of 465 patients were stratified by final diagnosis (appendicitis versus not appendicitis) and compared based on presenting symptoms, physical examination findings, vital signs, and laboratory test results. Results: Symptoms and physical examination findings that were significant in the positive cohort in both years included right lower quadrant pain, pain with movement, migration of pain, right lower quadrant tenderness, and peritoneal findings. Reporting upper respiratory symptoms was an independent predictor of negative results among all patients and in 2019. Both negative cohorts were more likely to have negative physical examinations. Anorexia and nausea/vomiting were more likely among positive cases in 2019 whereas diarrhoea was more likely among positive cases in 2020. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic did not significantly change the presenting features of acute appendicitis. The results of the present study emphasise the importance of the physical examination. The ambiguity of symptoms that mimic gastroenteritis justifies imaging in these patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging