The speed bump test for appendicitis

When a teenage relative of mine had suspected acute appendicitis, the pediatrician told him over the phone to jump up and down to see if it made things worse. When it did she was already reasonably confident of the diagnosis.

Therefore I wasn’t that shocked to see a MedPage Today story (Painful Speed Bumps? Could Be Appendicitis), which reports on a British Medical Journal article touting the efficacy of checking in with patients on whether they found going over speed bumps on the way to the hospital painful.

“Presence of pain while traveling over speed bumps was associated with an increased likelihood of acute appendicitis,” Ashdown’s group wrote. “As a diagnostic variable, it compared favorably with other features commonly used in clinical assessment. Asking about speed bumps may contribute to clinical assessment and could be useful in telephone assessment of patients.”

On the other hand, isn’t this kind of obvious and stupid?

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