OBJECTIVES: Appendicitis is a common pediatric condition requiring surgery. The pediatric appendicitis risk calculator (pARC) was recently developed to guide clinical care. The objective of this study is to describe resource utilization and clinical outcomes among children with appendix ultrasound (US) scans risk stratified by pARC score.
METHODS: Prospective enrolled observational cohort single-center study of children aged 5-18, who had an US for suspected appendicitis. We estimated the rate of appendicitis, rate of equivocal US scans, and resource utilization by pARC score strata. Total adjusted charges were determined for low-risk pARC patients compared to discharged emergency department (ED) patients with abdominal pain and complete blood count (CBC) obtained without advanced abdominal imaging.
RESULTS: Over the 13-month study period, 407 children were enrolled. The overall rate of appendicitis was 33.4%, and 199 (49%) were male. The observed rate of appendicitis was 3.3% in those with a pARC score of <15% and 96.8% in those with a pARC score of ≥85%. Of enrolled patients, 152 (37.3%) had a pARC score <15%. Of those with a pARC score of <15%, the negative appendectomy rate was 28.6%, and the rate of equivocal US was 49.3%. The rate of CT scans and hospitalizations was 19% and 23%, respectively. Median total charges for patients with pARC <15% with usual care were $3756. Median total charges for patients presenting to the ED with abdominal pain who had a CBC but no advanced abdominal imaging performed was $2484, indicating a potential savings of $1272 per patient.
CONCLUSIONS: There is a high rate of resource utilization among patients who are low appendicitis risk by pARC score. Outcome variation by pARC scores presents future opportunity to selectively reduce resource utilization in pediatric patients.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant number R01HD079463 to ABK) and Health Partners research grant to CRB.
© 2021 Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.
- Abdominal Pain/diagnosis
- Appendicitis/diagnostic imaging
- Emergency Service, Hospital
- Prospective Studies
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Observational Study