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MR shows broad spectrum of findings in pregnant women

MRI offers a “robust method” for assessing suspected acute appendicitis in pregnant patients in a speedy 30 minutes, according to a group from Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. In addition, the MR exam is the best bet for visualising the normal appendix.

“Acute appendicitis is the most common cause of abdominal pain in pregnancy that requires surgical treatment,” said Dr Ivan Pedrosa in a talk at the 2007 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) meeting in Berlin. “Although its incidence is low, it still remains a diagnostic challenge because of anatomy and histological alterations that occur during pregnancy.”

These anatomic changes include superior displacement of the appendix because of the gravid uterus. As a result, the normal appendix may appear in the right midabdomen or right upper quadrant during the second and third trimesters, according to Pedrosa and colleagues.