Premenopausal women who present with acute pelvic pain frequently pose a diagnostic dilemma, exhibiting nonspecific signs and symptoms, the most common being nausea, vomiting, and leukocytosis. Diagnostic considerations encompass multiple organ systems, including obstetric, gynecologic, urologic, gastrointestinal, and vascular etiologies. The selection of imaging modality is determined by the clinically suspected differential diagnosis. Thus, a careful evaluation of such a patient should be performed and diagnostic considerations narrowed before a modality is chosen. Transvaginal and transabdominal pelvic sonography is the modality of choice when an obstetric or gynecologic abnormality is suspected, and computed tomography is more useful when gastrointestinal or genitourinary pathology is more likely. Magnetic resonance imaging, when available in the acute setting, is favored over computed tomography for assessing pregnant patients for nongynecologic etiologies because of the lack of ionizing radiation. The American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed every two years by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and review include an extensive analysis of current medical literature from peer reviewed journals and the application of a well-established consensus methodology (modified Delphi) to rate the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures by the panel. In those instances where evidence is lacking or not definitive, expert opinion may be used to recommend imaging or treatment.
- appropriateness criteria
- pelvic pain