OBJECTIVE: To assess the value of abdominal ultrasonography in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis and the influence of gender, physical constitution, experience of the radiologist and the time evolution of the disease on the results of diagnostic indices. METHODS: We prospectively evaluated 156 patients with clinical diagnosis of acute appendicitis who underwent laparoscopic appendectomy and abdominal ultrasonography, together with pathology of the excised appendices. Patients were allocated in relation to BMI in both groups (below or above 25 kg/m²) and radiologists, in three groups according to their professional experience (less than five years, between five and 10 years and more than 10 years). The survey also assessed the influence of gender and time of disease progression using the median of 36 hours. RESULTS: The sensitivity and specificity of abdominal ultrasonography for diagnosing appendicitis were 64.9 and 72% respectively. Gender, body mass index, length of experience of the radiologists in the three groups and time of onset of symptoms showed no significant differences in the establishment of sonographic diagnosis of acute appendicitis. CONCLUSION: The abdominal ultrasonography showed low sensitivity and specificity and little contribution to the diagnosis of acute appendicitis. Gender, physical constitution, the experience of the radiologist and time of onset of symptoms did not affect the outcome of the sonography.
Appendicitis; Ultrasonography; Diagnosis