22.05.2015 | Original Article
Hyperbilirubinaemia in appendicitis: the diagnostic value for prediction of appendicitis and appendiceal perforation
H. L. Adams, S. S. Jaunoo
European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
Einloggen, um Zugang zu erhalten
The aim of this study is to evaluate the diagnostic value of pre-operative bilirubin levels in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis and appendiceal perforation.
A retrospective analysis of 557 patients undergoing emergency appendicectomy over a 24-month period at a large teaching hospital. Hyperbilirubinaemia was defined as >25 µmol/L. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics.
484 of the 557 (86.9 %) operated cases were found histologically to be appendicitis. 116 cases of the 484 were perforated (24 %). Bilirubin levels were significantly higher in the group with appendicitis versus the group found to have a normal appendix at histology, [median (IQR) 12.0 µmol/L (9.00) vs. 8.0 µmol/L (7.00) respectively, p < 0.001], despite being within normal serum bilirubin range. Sensitivity of hyperbilirubinaemia for acute appendicitis was only 8 %, however specificity was 94 %. PPV was 85 % and NPV was 26 %. Whilst bilirubin was higher in patients with a perforated appendix versus acute appendicitis [median (IQR) 13.0 µmol/L (9.00) vs. 11.0 µmol/L (9.00), respectively], statistically, there was no significant difference in pre-operative bilirubin levels between the perforated appendicitis cases and the non-perforated appendicitis cases (p = 0.326). However, the specificity of hyperbilirubinaemia for perforated appendicitis was 93 %, sensitivity 9.4 %, PPV 24 % and NPV 82 %.
Bilirubin levels may be high, but remain within normal range, in cases of appendicitis. Therefore, bilirubin levels may be a useful measurement when investigating a patient with suspected appendicitis. Hyperbilirubinaemia is highly specific with regards to perforation, a finding supported by other studies. However, possibly because of the few perforated cases in this study, we cannot recommend that hyperbilirubinaemia be used to predict perforation.