Introduction: Clinical diagnosis of acute appendicitis still remains a problem. Delays in diagnosis of acute appendicitis may cause perforation and septic peritonitis which result in increasing morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to determine the sensitivity, specificity and the diagnostic value of total serum bilirubin levels as a predictor of acute appendicitis.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, patients who underwent appendectomy with the diagnosis of acute appendicitis from April 2012 to March 2013 at Emam Reza Hospital in Mashhad (Iran) were enrolled. Serum bilirubin -Total and Direct-, were measured. Then based on the final pathologic reports, patients were categorized into five groups of normal appendix, chronic inflammatory changes, acute appendicitis, gangrenous and/or necrotic changes, and perforated appendicitis. Independent sample t-test, ANOVA, and Chi-square test were used for data analysis by SPSS version 16.

Results: There were 174 patients studied, (117 male, 57 female) with a mean age of 27.15±0.7 years. All of the patients had rebound tenderness; 75.3% had nausea, 58.6% had anorexia and 21.3% had fever. The histological reports of all patients showed 76.4% acute appendicitis. Analyzing p-values for SGPT, SGOT, WBC was (p=0.903) and differential count was (p=0.959). The study showed no significant difference between the pathological groups. However, there were no significant differences in serum total bilirubin levels between the pathological groups. Total bilirubin showed sensitivity of 48% and specificity of 61% in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis. Total serum bilirubin more than 0.85 mg/dl was the cut-off value with the best performance for diagnosis of appendicitis.

Conclusion: Bilirubin levels are reliable, sensitive and specific to diagnosis and a prediction of complicated appendicitis.


Keywords: Bilirubin, Appendicitis, Diagnosis, Complication
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