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Speed bumps can diagnose appendicitis

world Updated: Dec 19, 2012 00:16 IST

Experiencing pain when travelling over speed bumps is associated with an increased likelihood of acute appendicitis, according to a new study.

Clinical diagnosis of acute appendicitis can be difficult and yet it is the most common surgical abdominal emergency. There is no specific clinical diagnostic test for appendicitis, and removing a healthy appendix —which happens often — is best avoided. Missing appendicitis when present can be dangerous.

Researchers from the University of Oxford and Stoke Mandeville Hospital carried out a study on 101 patients who were referred to hospital for suspected appendicitis.

Patients were classed as “speed bump positive” if they had a worsening of pain whilst travelling over speed bumps or “speed bump negative” if their pain stayed the same, or if their pain improved. Clinical questioning about pain also compared favourably with the well known signs of appendicitis.