Washington, Mar 13 (PTI) Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have developed a new ‘risk calculator’ that can help diagnose appendicitis in children and provide tailored medical and surgical guidance.

Researchers from Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and HealthPartners Institute in the US used data collected from ten paediatric emergency departments to develop the risk calculator and then independently validated the score using data from a single children’s hospital.

Potential benefits of using the new risk calculator include a reduction in the use of computed tomography (CT), more judicious utilisation of ultrasound and a reduction in healthcare expenditures.

“This method is of great benefit to our patients and the health care system overall,” said Anupam Kharbanda, chief of critical care services at Children’s Minnesota.

“In addition to being able to target our care specifically to each patient, we’re also reducing the use of unnecessary medical tests and expenses,” said Kharbanda.

“We’re thrilled to have developed a new way to standardise care for children and adolescents with abdominal pain,” he said.

Abdominal pain is one of the most common reasons children visit the emergency department and appendicitis is the most frequent surgical emergency in pediatrics.

CT is one of the most common ways clinicians diagnose appendicitis and CT scans are not only costly, but can also put paediatric patients at risk for radiation-induced injuries, especially because their bodies are smaller and organs more sensitive than adults.

As a result, researchers have sought methods to develop a safer, more cost-efficient way to determine the risk for appendicitis when a patient has presented at an emergency department with abdominal pain.

They are conducting a 17-centre trial to improve the care of paediatric patients who seek care in general emergency departments. The study will utilise the appendicitis risk calculator to guide care in the community setting.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.