Not Quite A Tricorder, But Getting Closer: Appendicitis in a Few Drops of Blood

A potentially pathbreaking new diagnostic test for appendicitis is being evaluated by the FDA.

Usually, appendicitis is diagnosed by a combination of physical exam findings, ultrasound, and CT scanning coupled to basic laboratory tests.

The status quo, however, leads to many unnecessary and costly tests (particularly CT scans).

Venaxis has developed a simple blood test that measures the blood markers C-reactive protein and calprotectin. The results of these measurements are integrated in a proprietary algorithm with the WBC count to generate a prediction regarding the presence of appendicitis.

Depending on the negative predictive value of the test, it could have a major impact on the diagnosis of appendicitis which often takes hours in busy EDs with no time to spare. Also, such tests which leverage the increasing knowledge of host inflammatory and immune molecules, will become more common in the future transforming the practice of medcine.