MRI of suspected appendicitis during pregnancy: Interradiologist agreement, indeterminate interpretation and the meaning of non-visualization of the appendix

Richard Tsai, Constantine Raptis, Kathryn J. Fowler, Joseph W. Owen, Vincent M. Mellnick

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Objective: To determine the degree of interradiologist agreement between the MRI features of appendicitis during pregnancy, the outcomes associated with an indeterminate interpretation and the negative predictive value of non-visualization of the appendix. Methods: Our study was approved by the institutional review board at the Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri (WUStL) and was HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996)-compliant. The informed consent requirement was waived. Cases of suspected appendicitis during pregnancy evaluated using MRI were retrospectively identified using search queries. Scans were re-reviewed by two radiologists (7 and 9 years experience, respectively) to evaluate the interradiologist agreement of different MRI features of appendicitis during pregnancy (visualization of the appendix, appendiceal diameter, appendiceal wall thickening, periappendiceal fat stranding, fluid-filled appendix and periappendiceal fluid). The radiologists were blinded to patient outcome, patient intervention, laboratory data, demographic data and the original MRI reports. Clinical outcomes were documented by surgical pathology or clinical observation. Interradiologist agreement was analysed using Cohen's , while patient demographic and clinical data was analysed using Student's t-testing. Results: 233 females with suspected appendicitis during pregnancy were evaluated using MRI over a 13-year period (mean age, 28.4 years; range, 17-38 years). There were 14 (6%) positive examinations for appendicitis during pregnancy, including 1 patient whose MRI was interpreted as negative, proven by surgical pathology. The presence of periappendiceal soft-tissue stranding and the final overall impression had the most interradiologist agreement (0.81-1). There were no pregnant patients found to have acute appendicitis who had an indeterminate MR interpretation or when the appendix could not be visualized. Conclusion: The final impression by the two retrospectively reviewing radiologists of MR examinations performed for suspected appendicitis during pregnancy had near-perfect agreement. In patients where the appendix could not be visualized or in patients that were interpreted as indeterminate, no patients had acute appendicitis. Advances in knowledge: MR impression for suspected appendicitis in the pregnant patient has high interradiologist agreement, and a non-visualized appendix or lack of inflammatory findings at the time of MR, reliably excludes surgical appendicitis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20170383
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number1079
StatePublished - 2017


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