How is Appendicitis Diagnosed?

Although the appendix serves no known function, it can still cause serious medical problems. This small, tube-like organ is located in the large intestine. When the appendix becomes inflamed, it is referred to as appendicitis. Because an inflamed appendix can lead to life-threatening complications , it’s crucial to seek emergency care at MountainView Hospital if you think you could have appendicitis. Our emergency care team conducts thorough evaluations to develop accurate diagnoses.

Patient History

Watch this featured video to hear a general surgeon at MountainView Hospital explain how she evaluates patients who present with the symptoms of appendicitis. Generally, the symptoms of appendicitis include acute pain on the lower right-hand side of the abdomen that can become progressively worse. Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite are other possible symptoms. The patient can expect questions regarding the type, severity, and onset of symptoms. The emergency care physician will review the patient’s current medications and history of prior surgeries.

Physical Exam

After reviewing the patient’s symptoms and other medical information, the emergency care doctor will perform a physical exam. This typically involves applying light pressure on the abdominal area to evaluate the patient’s pain response. Abdominal rigidity is also considered. Sometimes, patients with possible appendicitis may undergo a digital rectal exam and/or a pelvic exam.

Test Results

Imaging scans and laboratory tests can be helpful to confirm a diagnosis of appendicitis. Blood tests can indicate whether an infection may be present and a urinalysis can rule out the possibility of a kidney stone or urinary tract infection. Additionally, patients might be asked to undergo a computed tomography (CT) scan or an abdominal ultrasound . The test and imaging results, physical exam, and patient information are all important factors in reaching a diagnosis of appendicitis and developing the patient’s treatment recommendations.

The emergency care team and the entire staff here at MountainView Hospital are dedicated to helping Las Vegas-area families live life well. Our full-service hospital is a destination of choice for patients who need emergency surgery, robotic surgery, stroke care, and bariatric weight loss procedures. To request a physician referral, patients can call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (702) 233-5300.

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