Diagnosis of appendicitis with left lower quadrant pain

Sen Kuang Hou, Chii H. Chern, Chorng Kuang How, Wei Fong Kao, Jen D. Chen, Lee M. Wang, Chun I. Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Abdominal pain is one of the most common chief complaints of patients presenting to the emergency department and, among the diagnoses of abdominal pain, appendicitis is the most common surgical disorder. Traditionally, the diagnosis of appendicitis is based on well-established clinical criteria combined with physician experience. However, appendicitis presenting with rare and misleading left lower quadrant (LLQ) pain may result in an initial false-negative diagnosis by the physician and even result in failure to order the subsidiary examination of computed tomography (CT) or ultrasound, so increasing the risk of perforation/abscess formation and prolonged hospital stay. In this report, we present 2 cases of atypical appendicitis with LLQ pain where the correct diagnosis was not initially considered. One patient had right-sided appendicitis; the inflamed appendix was 12 cm in length and projected into the LLQ. Local peritonitis developed during observation. With the aid of CT, the diagnosis was established in time. The other patient had left-sided appendicitis with situs inversus totalis. Adverse outcomes with appendiceal rupture and abscess formation occurred due to inadvertent physical examinations and inadequate observation. Early clinical suspicion and adequate observation are indicated in patients with uncertain clinical features. However, in patients with unresolved clinical symptoms and/or local peritonitis that develop during observation, imaging studies play a significant role in preoperative diagnosis and determination of proper treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-603
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Chinese Medical Association
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Abdominal pain
  • Appendicitis
  • Computed tomography
  • Emergency department
  • Situs inversus totalis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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