"It's a little disturbing to hear that doctors can't tell constipation from appendicitis," said Dale.
Up to 45-percent of appendicitis cases take so long to diagnose the appendix ruptures and up to 30-percent of kids have an appendix removed unnecessarily because of a misdiagnosis. A new test that focuses on the presence of a specific protein in a child's urine could clear up the confusion.
"If this protein is present in urine, then there is a very high chance that this child has appendicitis," said Dr. Hanno Steen, Children's Hospital Boston.
Researchers used a device, called a spectrophotometer, to shine a light through the test tube. It picks up on a specific protein in urine that signals appendicitis.
"In a couple of years, we would like to have a dipstick test which allows us to do this kind of urine analysis in the ER within minutes," said Dr. Steen.
Studies show the biomarker test is accurate 97-percent of the time. This will help eliminate the guesswork and unnecessary pain for kids.