New York — Researchers have developed a new paediatric appendicitis risk calculator (pARC) that may help to calculate a specific risk for appendicitis in kids.
With this new method, clinicians will be able to provide tailored medical and surgical guidance to a patient, the researchers said.
"This method is of great benefit to our patients and the health care system overall," said Anupam Kharbanda, Co-Principal Investigator and Chief of Critical Care Services at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.
"In addition to being able to target our care specifically to each patient, we're also reducing the use of unnecessary medical tests and expenses. We're thrilled to have developed a new way to standardise care for children and adolescents with abdominal pain," Kharbanda added.
Abdominal pain is one of the most common reasons children visit the emergency department and appendicitis is the most frequent surgical emergency in paediatrics.
CT is one of the most common ways clinicians diagnose appendicitis and CT scans are not only costly, but can also put paediatric patients at risk for radiation-induced injuries, especially because their bodies are smaller and organs more sensitive than adults, the researchers said.
As a result, researchers have sought methods to develop a safer, more cost-efficient way to determine the risk for appendicitis when a patient has approached the emergency department with abdominal pain.
For the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers used data collected from ten paediatric emergency departments to develop the risk calculator and then independently validated the score using data from a single children's hospital.
Potential benefits of using the new risk calculator include a reduction in the use of computed tomography (CT), more judicious utilisation of ultrasound and a reduction in healthcare expenditures.