Emergency Radiology

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 627–637 | Cite as

Diagnostic performance of CT for pediatric patients with suspected appendicitis in various clinical settings: a systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Dong Wook Kim
  • Hee Mang Yoon
  • Jeong-Yong Lee
  • Jung Heon Kim
  • Ah Young Jung
  • Jin Seong Lee
  • Young Ah Cho
Original Article



To assess the diagnostic performance of CT for pediatric patients with suspected appendicitis in various clinical settings and the proportion of acute appendicitis on final diagnosis among equivocal CT findings.


MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched until October 21, 2017, for studies investigating diagnostic performance of CT for acute appendicitis in pediatric patients confirmed by histopathologic findings and/or clinical follow-up. Pooled estimates of sensitivity and specificity were calculated using a hierarchical logistic regression modeling. The proportion of true appendicitis among patients with inconclusive CT results was obtained using fixed and random effects meta-analyses.


Twenty-two articles with 3396 patients were included. The pooled sensitivity and specificity were 95% (95% CI, 93−97%) and 94% (95% CI, 90−96%), respectively, and the area under the hierarchical summary receiver operating characteristic (HSROC) curve was 0.98 (95% CI, 0.96−0.99). Subgroup analyses revealed a comparable diagnostic performance in the low-dose CT group (sensitivity, 97%; specificity, 96%) and the unenhanced group (sensitivity, 95%; specificity, 95%). Other subgroups (publication year, study design, enrolled population, true appendicitis proportion, CT channel number, and slice thickness) also showed good diagnostic performance. Six studies reporting the true appendicitis proportion among patients with equivocal CT findings had pooled proportion of 17% (95% CI, 9−29%).


CT showed good performance for suspected appendicitis in pediatric patients under various clinical settings, including in cases with dose reduction or absence of IV contrast. The prevalence of true appendicitis among patients with equivocal appendicitis results on CTs was not low; therefore, clinical attention should not be disregarded in this population.


Appendicitis Appendix Child X-ray computed tomography 



Computed tomography


Hierarchical summary receiver operating characteristic


Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies-2



This study was supported by a grant (2017-0202) from Asan Medical Center Children’s Hospital, Seoul, Korea.

Author contributions

Chong Hyun Suh, MD (Department of Radiology, Asan Medical Center), assisted in a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors of this manuscript (Dong Wook Kim, Hee Mang Yoon, Jeong-Yong Lee, Jung Heon Kim, Ah Young Jung, Jin Seong Lee, and Young Ah Cho) declare no relationships with any companies, whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article.

Consent to participate

Informed consent was not required because of the nature of our study, which was a systemic review and meta-analysis.

Supplementary material

10140_2018_1624_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (283 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 283 kb)


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Copyright information

© American Society of Emergency Radiology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dong Wook Kim
    • 1
  • Hee Mang Yoon
    • 2
  • Jeong-Yong Lee
    • 3
  • Jung Heon Kim
    • 4
  • Ah Young Jung
    • 2
  • Jin Seong Lee
    • 2
  • Young Ah Cho
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyTaean-gun Health Center and County HospitalTaean-gunRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Radiology and Research Institute of Radiology, Asan Medical CenterUniversity of Ulsan College of MedicineSeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics, Asan Medical CenterUniversity of Ulsan College of MedicineSeoulRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Department of Emergency Medicine, Asan Medical CenterUniversity of Ulsan College of MedicineSeoulRepublic of Korea

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