Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, ISSN - 0973 - 709X

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Original article / research
Table of Contents - Year : 2009 | Month : August | Volume : 3 | Issue : 4 | Page : 1647 - 1652

The Diagnostic Value of Hyperbilirubinemia and Total Leucocyte Count in the Evaluation of Acute Appendicitis 1647-1652

KHAN S*

Correspondence
Dr. SALAMAT KHAN drsalamatkhan63@yahoo.co.uk

Background: Acute appendicitis (AA) is a common abdominal emergency encountered in general surgery. In most of the cases, the diagnosis can be made clinically by assessing the symptoms and physical findings and can be confirmed by laboratory tests and ultrasonography. However, diagnosis is difficult sometimes even after all these tests and in such doubtful cases, either the diagnosis is missed or the patient’s normal appendix is operated on, leading to increase in mortality and morbidity.
Aims: It is to evaluate the importance of total leukocyte count (TLC) and total serum bilirubin (TSB) in the diagnosis of clinically suspected cases of AA.
Settings And Design: This is a prospective study conducted at the Department of Surgery at NGMC, Teaching Hospital, Nepalgunj, Nepal, from December 2004- Jan 2008.
Methods And Material: 122 patients suspected of having appendicitis at clinical evaluation underwent prospective evaluations which included laboratory tests (TLC, LFT, Urine analysis) and ultrasonography (USG) of the abdomen. They were operated on and their diagnosis was confirmed per-operatively and post-operatively by histo-pathological examination. Laboratory results, operative findings and histo-pathological findings were compiled, analyzed and compared with reference values. The TLC and total serum bilirubin (TSB) were considered positive for appendicitis when their values were greater than 1010cell/cmm and > 1.1 mg/dL, respectively.
Results: The ages ranged from 8-73 years with a mean of 29.36 years. Out of 122 patients, 21(17.81%) cases belonged to the early group of cases (reported <24hours after the onset of the symptoms), while 101(82.78%) cases belonged to the delayed group of cases (reported >24 hours after the onset of the symptoms). The histological examination revealed that of the 122 specimens, 118(96.72%) had a positive histology for AA, while 4 (3.22%) had normal histology. TLC was elevated in 93 (76.22%) cases and it was normal in 29 (23.77%) cases. Among the cases that had elevated TLC, only 91(97.84%, CI 14010±254) had a positive histology for AA, while the remaining 2 (2.15%) had normal histology. Among 29 cases that had normal TLC, 27 had positive histology for AA, while the remaining 2 had normal histology. The specificity, sensitivity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV) and overall diagnostic accuracy are 50%, 77%, 97.8%, 7.4% and 76.22%, respectively. TSB was elevated in 95 cases (77.86%, CI 2.06±0.73), while it was within normal limits in 27 (22.13%) cases. Among the cases that had elevated TBS, all had positive histology for AA, while in cases with normal TBS, 23 had a positive histology for AA, while 4 had normal histology. The specificity, sensitivity, PPV, NPV, and overall diagnostic accuracy are 100%, 80%, 100%, 14% and 81.14%, respectively Liver enzyme changes if any, were not helpful in the diagnosis.
Conclusion: Elevated TSB (without severe changes in liver enzymes) was found to be a better laboratory test with 100% specificity, 80% sensitivity and 81.14% overall diagnostic accuracy than TLC with 50% specificity, 77% sensitivity and 76.22% overall diagnostic accuracy in the diagnosis of AA. But the diagnosis can be further improved if positive results of either tests alone or in combination are taken into consideration. This will reduce the missing rate of AA without increasing the rate of negative appendicectomies.