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Use of iPhone Mobile Devices for Remote Diagnosis of Acute Appendicitis

The use and benefits of Technology in the medical field are tremendous. Now, iPhone Mobile devices can help radiologists diagnose acute appendix even in remote areas.

Appendicitis (or epityphlitis) is an inflammation of the appendix that requires a medical emergency requiring the immediate removal of the organ before of its rupture. If ruptured, this will release toxins into the abdominal cavity causing a fatal infection. A patient ‘s life is at stake if the operation had not been taken within 24 hours. The surgical procedure for acute appendicitis is called Appendectomy sometimes called appendisectomy or appendicectomy.

What is Appendix?

The appendix (or vermiform or “worm-shaped” appendix), is a blind-ended tube connected to the cecum (or caecum), from which it develops embryologically. The cecum is a pouchlike structure of the colon. The appendix is located near the junction of the small intestine and the large intestine.

image via wikipedia

Causes and Symptoms of Appendicitis

Appendicitis begins when the opening from the appendix into the cecum becomes blocked due to hardened  rock-like stool thick mucus (fecalith) that enters the appendix from the cecum. The bacteria then will build-up or infect the wall of appendix. Other theories may cause also of the initial rupture of the appendix inside followed by spread of bacteria outside the appendix. Lack of fiber may also cause abnormal constipation.

Main symptom is abnominal pain and the abdominal wall becomes very sensitive to gentle pressure.  Appendicitis may be extremely difficult to diagnose in women of childbearing age, because symptoms of acute gynecologic conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease, and preliminary abdominal pains may cause monthly menstrual period.  Other causes are loss of appetite ( which may lead to nausea and even vomiting), constipation and gas pain.

Use of iPhone Mobile Devices to Diagnose Appendicitis

With the aid of technology such as using mobile devices for immediate diagnostic process of medical procedures will tremendously save many lives.  Medical imaging plays an important role in the medical field. Radiologists must evaluate and interpret complex analyses of images the soonest possible time and correctly.

Last November 2009 annual meeting of The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), they presented the results of their study of the use of iPhone mobile devices to scan CT scan images with a viewing software installed in the device to diagnose acute appendicitis.  The study of 25 patients using the mobile devices were correctly diagnosed resulting to  99% accuracy.

According to Dr. Asim F. Choudhri, the study lead author and a physician in the division of neuroradiology at Johns Hopkins University, “ this new technology can expedite diagnosis, and therefore treatment”. The mobile devices can diagnose even in remote areas or wherever the patient is located, and can be transmitted immediately for physician’s evaluation prior to surgery.

The OsiriX Software

The iPhone G3 with OsiriX Mobile Imaging Viewer Sotware. A free open source software  for multimodal and multidimensional visualization of images.

OsiriX software is developed  and maintained by Pixmeo SARL, a company based in Geneva Switzerland. The software were created by former UCLA Radiologists, Antoine Rosset M.D. and Dr. Osman Ratib.

OsiriX produces high resolution images with the capability of advanced imaging  manipulation aside from regular zoom, pan,adjusting contrast, and brightness of the images. It is at the same time a DICOM PACS workstation for imaging and an image processing software for medical research (radiology and nuclear imaging), functional imaging, 3D imaging, confocal microscopy and molecular imaging.

 OsiriX Viewer on iPhone

Article image via RSNA.org

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Comments (3)

Great use of technology. Getting more like Star Trek all the time!

Never knew iPhone can be used like that. Thumbs Up!

Isn't technology amazing.

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