Objective. Appendicitis is the most common surgical emergency in pregnancy. Acute appendicitis is often difficult to diagnose clinically, and concerns regarding antenatal CT imaging limit its use resulting in high false negative rates at laparotomy. MRI has recently been reported as a reasonable alternative to CT imaging in cases of suspected appendicitis. Our objective was to perform a meta-analysis of recently published data regarding the utility of MR imaging in cases of antenatal suspected acute appendicitis. Methods. We searched the PubMed database using keywords 'MRI', 'appendicitis', and 'pregnancy'. Five case series describing the role of MRI in cases of antenatal appendicitis were included. The sensitivity, specificity, positive, and negative predictive values were calculated. Results. Two hundred twenty-nine patients were included in the study. In the first analysis in which non-diagnostic scans were excluded, the sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of MRI for diagnosing appendicitis were 95.0%, 99.9%, 90.4%, and 99.5%, respectively. In the second analysis, which included non-diagnostic scans, the sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values were 90.5%, 98.6%, 86.3%, and 99.0%, respectively Conclusions. MR imaging may be useful in cases of suspected antenatal appendicitis. Data are still limited and larger prospective studies are necessary to confirm this finding. © 2011 Informa UK, Ltd.
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