MRI in suspected appendicitis

Is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) useful in the evaluation of children with suspected appendicitis? 

  • MRI has been suggested as an alternative to CT in children suspected of appendicitis with an inconclusive ultrasound to avoid the detrimental effects of radiation.
  • It has been shown that the sensitivity of MRI without contrast in diagnosing appendicitis has been up to 100%, with a specificity of 96%, a positive predictive value of 88%, and a negative predictive value of 100%.
  • This diagnostic performance, in addition to its lack of radiation, makes MRI attractive as a potential alternative to CT for the diagnosis of appendicitis. 


Apelsund G, Fingeret A, Gross E, et al: Ultrasonography/MRI versus CT for diagnosing appendicitis. Pediatrics 2014;133:1-8. 

Herliczek TW, Swenson DW, Mayo-Smith WW: Utility of MRI after inconclusive ultrasound in pediatric patients with suspected appendicitis: Retrospective review of 60 consecutive patients. AJR Am J Roentgenol 2013;200:969-973. 

Moore MM, Gustas CN, Choudhary AK, et al: MRI for clinically suspected pediatric appendicitis: An implemented program. Pediatr Radiol 2012;42:1056-1063.


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