This site is intended for healthcare professionals

Go to /sign-in page

You can view 5 more pages before signing in


Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Acute appendicitis is usually a clinical diagnosis, however several general investigations should be performed:

  • full blood count - leukocytosis is generally present
  • urea and electrolytes - assessment of dehydration

The differential diagnosis of acute appendicitis is extensive. Further investigations may be helpful if the diagnosis is equivocal:

  • pregnancy test
  • serum amylase - if pancreatitis suspected
  • abdominal radiology - helpful to distinguish:
    • volvulus
    • intussusception
    • renal stones (90%)
    • gallstones (10%)
    • localised ileus

Generally, urine analysis is unhelpful in differentiating appendicitis from a urinary tract infection. Irritation of the bladder or ureter by an unusually-sited appendix can both cause pyuria.

There is no place for barium enema in the diagnosis of appendicitis. Occasionally, ultrasound and CT scanning are used to investigate suspected appendicitis where the story is atypical.


  • in head-to-head comparison studies of diagnostic imaging, CT had a better test performance than did graded compression US in diagnosing appendicitis (1)


Related pages

Create an account to add page annotations

Add information to this page that would be handy to have on hand during a consultation, such as a web address or phone number. This information will always be displayed when you visit this page

The content herein is provided for informational purposes and does not replace the need to apply professional clinical judgement when diagnosing or treating any medical condition. A licensed medical practitioner should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.


Copyright 2024 Oxbridge Solutions Limited, a subsidiary of OmniaMed Communications Limited. All rights reserved. Any distribution or duplication of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. Oxbridge Solutions receives funding from advertising but maintains editorial independence.