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Papers of the Week

2021 May

J Am Coll Radiol



ACR Appropriateness Criteria® Postmenopausal Acute Pelvic Pain.


Henrichsen TL, Maturen KE, Robbins JB, Akin EA, Ascher SM, Brook OR, Dassel M, Friedman L, Learman LA, Patlas MN, Sadowski EA, Saphier C, Wasnik AP, Glanc P
J Am Coll Radiol. 2021 May; 18(5S):S119-S125.
PMID: 33958106.


Acute pelvic pain is a common presenting complaint in both the emergency room and outpatient settings. Pelvic pain of gynecologic origin in postmenopausal women occurs less frequently than in premenopausal women; however, it has important differences in etiology. The most common causes of postmenopausal pelvic pain from gynecologic origin are ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, and ovarian neoplasm. Other etiologies of pelvic pain are attributable to urinary, gastrointestinal, and vascular systems. As the optimal imaging modality varies for these etiologies, it is important to narrow the differential diagnosis before choosing the initial diagnostic imaging examination. Transabdominal and transvaginal ultrasound are the best initial imaging techniques when the differential is primarily of gynecologic origin. CT with intravenous (IV) contrast is more useful if the differential diagnosis remains broad. MRI without IV contrast or MRI without and with IV contrast, as well as CT without IV contrast may also be used for certain differential considerations. The American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed annually by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and revision include an extensive analysis of current medical literature from peer reviewed journals and the application of well-established methodologies (RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method and Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation or GRADE) to rate the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures for specific clinical scenarios. In those instances where evidence is lacking or equivocal, expert opinion may supplement the available evidence to recommend imaging or treatment.