Laboratory Tests Used to Diagnose AppendicitisDoctors may use blood tests to check for signs of infection, such as a high white blood cell count. Blood tests may also show dehydration or fluid and electrolyte disorders. Other laboratory tests that are used to make an appendicitis diagnosis by ruling out other conditions include a urinalysis and a pregnancy test.
Imaging tests are also used for diagnosing appendicitis. X-rays, ultrasounds, and computed tomography (CT) scans are used to produce images of the abdomen. An x-ray can show signs of obstruction, perforation (a hole), foreign bodies, and, in rare cases, an appendicolith, which is hardened stool in the appendix.
An ultrasound may show appendiceal inflammation, gallbladder disease, and pregnancy. However, the most common imaging test that is used to diagnose appendicitis is the CT scan, which can:
- Provide a series of cross-sectional images of the body
- Identify abdominal conditions
- Facilitate diagnosis when the clinical impression is in doubt.
It is important for women of childbearing age to have a pregnancy test before undergoing any testing with x-rays.