Health: A New Window On The Appendix

The FDA has approved NeutroSpec, a technique that could make it significantly easier to diagnose appendicitis. That's good news because accurate diagnosis is a problem. Half the 700,000 cases of suspected appendicitis in the U.S. each year lack the usual symptoms of fever and pain in the lower right abdomen, and 15% to 40% of all appendectomies prove unnecessary because the appendix turns out to be normal. The new technique uses a radioactive tracer that binds to an infection-fighting white blood cell. Doctors locate the tracer using an imaging device called a gamma camera. In trials, the technique diagnosed nearly 100%...

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