Study: iPhone image quality adequate for diagnosing appendicitis

Screen resolution of smartphones, particularly Apple's iPhone, has gotten so good that handsets are now suitable for making quick, preliminary diagnoses of acute appendicitis, a new study suggests.

"We knew that recent advances in handheld device technology allowed viewing of medical imaging. But it is unproven whether viewing on a small screen allows a reader to reliably and reproducibly obtain information," Johns Hopkins neuroradiology fellow Dr. Asim Choudhri reported Monday at the annual Radiological Society of North America meeting in Chicago. But in 125 reads of CT scans on iPhones, five medical residents made a total of just one error. In every other case, the residents agreed that 15 of the 25 patients whose records were reviewed had acute appendicitis and 10 had a less-emergent issue.

"This new technology can expedite diagnosis and, therefore, treatment," Choudri said, according to Doctor's Guide.

The reviewing residents used standard iPhones with OsiriX, a commercially available piece of mobile software that permits transmission of medical imaging through iTunes. It takes 1 to 5 minutes to download an 80-image CT scan on the phone, depending on the speed of the Internet connection. OsiriX has not been approved by the FDA for diagnosis of appendicitis, and Choudhri said he would not recommend that the software be used to make a final determination.

For more:
- read this Doctor's Guide story
- take a look at this RSNA press release