Perforated appendicitis: Can it be a bedside diagnosis?
Appendicitis remains one of the most common causes of acute abdomen worldwide. It presents as a spectrum of disease ranging from an acutely inflamed appendix to a perforated one. Where acutely inflamed can be managed conservatively, a perforated appendix always needs surgery to prevent complications like pelvic abscesses. Bedside diagnosis remains relevant in our setup. Objectives: To determine whether history, clinical examination, and basic laboratory investigations can help in confident bedside diagnosis of perforated appendicitis especially in the absence of sophisticated diagnostic modalities. Study Design: Retrospective Case-control study. Setting: Surgical Unit-1, Holy Family Hospital. Period: Jan 2016 to Dec 2016. Material & Methods: Conducted at Hospital records of patients who underwent open appendectomy in the year 2016 were reviewed. Two groups of 100 patients each were made based on per operative findings. Appendices having macroscopic holes in the base or tip were labeled as perforated. Group A had acutely inflamed appendix and group b had perforated appendix. Patients’ demographic details were taken from hospital admission tickets. Findings of history and examination were retrieved from treating resident and operating surgeon's notes. Data were analyzed through SPSS. Results: Out of 200 patients the total number of males was 102 (51%) and females were 98 (49%). Mean age was 24.13+9.73 in males and 18.7+ 6.4 in females of group A and 26.0+10.1 in males and 20.56+7.53 in females of Group B. Group B showed a significant delay in presentation to emergency after the onset of pain (P = 0.022). Upon history and clinical examination, the presence of anorexia, malaise, generalized abdominal pain, guarding, mass in right iliac fossa were significantly associated with perforation. Whereas gender, fever, vomiting, and dysuria showed no association with perforation. Conclusion: Bedside conventional methods of history taking and examination remain a useful tool in anticipating perforated appendicitis. This helps surgeons in planning incisions and prioritizing patients on heavy operating lists. This remains especially relevant in resource-constrained setups where sophisticated modalities like CT scans are largely unavailable.