Now, mobile phones can diagnose acute appendicitis

Washington, Nov 30 ( Radiologists can diagnose acute appendicitis from a remote location with the use of a mobile phone equipped with special software.

“The goal is to improve the speed and accuracy of medical diagnoses, as well as to improve communications among different consulting physicians,” said Asim F. Choudhri, physician in Neuroradiology at Johns Hopkins University, who led the study.

“When we can make these determinations earlier, the appropriate surgical teams and equipment can be assembled before the surgeon even has the chance to examine the patient,” he added.

Appendicitis, or inflammation and infection of the appendix, is a medical emergency requiring surgical removal of the organ.

Undiagnosed or left untreated, the inflamed appendix will rupture, causing toxins to spill into the abdominal cavity and potentially causing a life-threatening infection.

Appendicitis can occur at any age but is most common in people between the ages of 10 and 30, according to the National Institute of Health.

Typically, a patient arriving at the emergency room with suspected appendicitis will undergo computed tomography (CT) and a physical examination. If a radiologist is not immediately available to interpret the CT images or if consultation with a specialist is needed, diagnosis is delayed, increasing the risk of rupture.

Transmitting the images over a mobile device allows for instant consultation and diagnosis from a remote location. It can also aid in surgical planning.

“This new technology can expedite diagnosis and, therefore, treatment,” Choudhri said.

“The scans can be read in full resolution with very little panning, and the software allows the reader to zoom and adjust the contrast and brightness of the image,” Choudhri said.

“The radiologist is evaluating actual raw image data, not snapshot,” he said, according to a Hopkins’ release.

These findings were presented Monday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).