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Management of acute onset testicular pain

HSIB legacy content

HSIB legacy content

This investigation was carried out by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB). Find out more about HSIB legacy.

National investigation

Since 2016, across England there have been more 3,500 hospital admissions each year with suspected testicular torsion. A proportion of these patients suffered complications due to misdiagnosis and delay.

Testicular torsion is a condition where the testicle twists, cuts off the blood supply and results in significant pain. If not treated in time it can result in the loss of a testicle.

Testicular torsion can affect males at any age, but young adults aged between 12 to 18 years are at greater risk of torsion than other age groups.

Reference event

The investigation focuses on the case of a 20-year-old student. He suffered a testicular torsion and lost his right testicle due to a delay in diagnosis and treatment .

Investigation summary

This healthcare safety investigation reviews the management of acute onset testicular pain. It looks at GP referral pathways into hospitals, primary care telephone consultation and diagnosis of time-critical conditions.

The investigation reviews the diagnostic and treatment pathway for testicular torsion. There was a focus on delays and the human factors associated with the care pathway. The impact a missed testicular torsion has on patients, their family and carers, and on the clinicians involved in diagnosis and treatment was also explored.