Medical Surgical Appendicitis #1


Which finding is known to confirm appendicitis in a client reporting abdominal pain?


  1. Right lower quadrant pain
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because right lower quadrant pain may be present, but can also be indicative of other issues such as ovary pain and colon pain. CT is used for proper diagnosis.

  2. Magnetic resonance imaging
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because an MRI is primarily used for diagnosis of appendicitis in children and pregnant women to reduce radiation exposure. MRI testing is also very expensive compared to a CT. The gold standard test for most clients suspected of appendicitis is the CT because it enhances the diagnosis and lowers the false negative rate.

  3. Computerized axial tomography
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because the CT enhances (with the use of contrast dye) the diagnosis of appendicitis thus lowering the false negative rate. This also allows for surgery to be done quicker, with faster diagnosis.

  4. Elevated white blood cell count
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because even though WBC’s are elevated with appendicitis, elevated WBC’s occur with other inflammatory issues within the body. Just because the client is experiencing abdominal pain along with elevated WBC’s, it could indicate other abdominal issues as well.


Computerized axial tomography (CT) scan is used in confirmation of appendicitis because of its lowering of the false negative rate. It helps to give a timely diagnosis in order to improve outcomes of the client.


Learning Outcomes

Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix. It presents as pain in the lower right abdomen, nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, fever, constipation/diarrhea and/or abdominal bloating. For diagnosis, a physical assessment of pain, blood test, and CT scan is used. Once confirmed, an appendectomy is the next step. It is important to visually see the appendix before performing surgery. This will also confirm the appendix has not perforated or ruptured, requiring emergent surgery. An appendectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the appendix and will be performed soon after confirmation of appendicitis because of the high risk of perforation or rupture in appendicitis. This can cause peritonitis, sepsis, and death if immediate surgery does not occur.

Test Taking Tip

Read the question, decide what the question is asking for. When the question is pertaining to the client, choose the answer that would be in the best interest of the client for treatment as quick as possible.

Video Rationale