How POCUS picks up a rare mimickers of acute appendicitis in the emergency department

Ultrasound J. 2020 Jan 15;12(1):2. doi: 10.1186/s13089-020-0151-6.


Background: Appendicitis is the most common surgical abdominal emergency. Punctual diagnosis and rapid operative treatment of acute appendicitis are critically important, as it reduces the risk of complications, associated with greater morbidity and cost of care. The clinical diagnosis of acute appendicitis can be difficult and confusing. Due to some typical presentation and mimic, several abdominal conditions are left undiagnosed. POCUS has comparatively acceptable sensitivity and high specificity for diagnosing acute appendicitis, and early practice POCUS has a standalone test to rule out acute appendicitis.

Case presentation: A 43-year-old man presented with a 3-day history of abdominal pain rated 5/10 in intensity which had localized to the right iliac fossa by the time he attended our emergency. He described the acute pain as sharp in nature, colicky without the presence of any radiation. The pain was associated with nausea, but there was no vomiting. On clinical examination, the patient was stable at first, had a normal temperature with tenderness and guarding the right iliac fossa under nearby normal laboratory investigation.

Conclusion: The importance of POCUS in scanning right iliac fossa for patients present with signs and symptoms that are mimicking acute appendicitis for diagnosing a rare pathology and avoiding the risk of ionizing radiation hazards and unnecessary surgical intervention.

Keywords: Acute appendicitis mimicker; Computed tomography; Emergency department; POCUS; Point of care ultrasound.