Testing & Diagnosis for Appendicitis in Children

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How is appendicitis diagnosed in kids?

An appendicitis diagnosis for children will include a complete medical history and physical examination. It also may include:

  • Abdominal ultrasound. A diagnostic imaging technique which uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function, and to assess blood flow through various vessels.
  • Computed tomography scan of the abdomen, with or without contrast (also called a CT or CAT scan). A diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.

Other appendicitis diagnostic tests for children may include:

  • Blood tests. These tests are done to evaluate the infection, or to determine if there are any problems with other abdominal organs, such as the liver or pancreas.
  • Urinalysis. This test detects any bladder or kidney infection, which may mimic the symptoms of appendicitis.
Symptoms of appendicitis may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult your health care provider for a diagnosis.
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