SPASMS: Study of Paediatric Appendicitis Scores and Management Strategies

Grant ID: EMPJ-272R39-2023-PHILLIPS

Project Summary

Abdominal pain is one of the commonest reasons for children to attend the emergency department (ED), and acute appendicitis is the most common cause of abdominal pain requiring surgery. There are various clinical prediction scores that have been developed to help doctors diagnose appendicitis; however, most scores were developed overseas and are not routinely used in Australian EDs. The aim of this project is to review different published scores and compare them with overall clinician impression in diagnosing acute appendicitis in children presenting to ED.

The project will include all patients presenting to the ED with abdominal pain that are having investigations for possible appendicitis. The treating doctor will be asked to complete a case report form detailing patient history, examination findings, investigation results, as well as their overall clinical impression of the patient’s likelihood of having the diagnosis of appendicitis. Data collected will be analysed by project researchers to determine which scores are the most helpful for clinicians in diagnosing acute appendicitis in children presenting to Australian EDs, with the expectation that this will improve future care provided to children with abdominal pain.


Amount Awarded


Grant Scheme


Principal Investigator:
Dr Natalie Phillips

Co Investigators:
Prof Meredith Borland AM
A/Prof Shane George
Dr Michelle Davison
Dr Bhavesh Patel
Dr Melissa Short
Dr Wei Hao Lee
Dr Deborah Shellshear

Associate Investigators:
Mr Mark Moore
Dr Sarah Davidson
Ms Karla Mulready


Collaborating Institutions

CONTACT US +61 7 3720 5700 Suite 1B, Terraces, 19 Lang Parade, Milton Qld 4064