Risk of appendicitis in patients with incidentally discovered appendicoliths

Document Type





Background: An appendicolith-related appendiceal obstruction leading to appendicitis is a commonly encountered surgical emergency that has clear evidence-based management plans. However, there is no consensus on management of asymptomatic patients when appendicoliths are found incidentally. The objective of this study was to determine the risk of appendicitis in patients with an incidental finding of the appendicolith.Methods: A retrospective matched cohort study of patients with appendicolith discovered incidentally on computed tomographic scan from January 2008 to December 2014 at our institution was completed. The size and position of the appendicolith were ascertained. The study group was matched by age and gender to a control group. Both groups were contacted and interviewed regarding development of appendicitis.Results: In total, 111 patients with appendicolith were successfully contacted and included in the study. Mean age was found to be 38±15y with 36 (32%) of the study population being females. Mean length of appendix was 66±16mm, and mean width was 5.8±0.9mm. Mean size of the appendicolith was 3.6±1.1mm (1.4-7.8mm). Fifty-eight percent of appendicoliths was located at the proximal end or whole of appendix, 31% at mid area, and 11% at the distal end of appendix. All patients of the study and control groups were contacted, and at a mean follow-up of 4.0±1.7y, there was no occurrence of acute appendicitis in either group.CONCLUSIONS: Patients with incidentally discovered appendicolith on radiological imaging did not develop appendicitis. Hence, the risk of developing acute appendicitis for these patients does not seem higher than the general population.

Publication (Name of Journal)

The Journal of Surgical Research