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Chirurg. 2009 Jul;80(7):608-14. doi: 10.1007/s00104-009-1754-4.

[Appendicitis in the elderly. CRP value as decision support for diagnostic laparoscopy].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Chirurgische Klinik, St. Josef-Hospital, Klinikum der Ruhr-Universität, Gudrunstrasse 56, Bochum, Germany.



The diagnosis of acute appendicitis in the elderly bears many pitfalls due to a broad range of differential diagnoses and uncommon clinical presentation. This may result in late detection of appendicitis leading to poor outcome. The aim of this study was to examine the characteristics of appendicitis in elderly patients in order to facilitate early diagnosis.


All patients who underwent appendectomy in our institution were prospectively recorded over a 30 month period. Data on patient's age (>60 years versus < or =60 years), clinical findings, the inflammatory parameters leucocytes and C-reactive protein (CRP) and histological-findings (perforated versus non-perforated) were collected. Statistical analysis was carried out by ROC analysis, chi(2) and t-tests.


In the examination period 403 patients underwent appendectomy and 11.2% (n=45) were older than 60 years. These patients were characterized by significantly more frequent perforations compared to those patients < or =60 years (35.6% versus 7.0%, p< or =0.05), peritonitis (42.2% versus 9.5%, p< or =0.05), conversion to open surgery (23% versus 5%, p< or =0.005), longer postoperative hospital stay (9.2 days versus 4.3 days, p< or =0.05) and a higher complication rate (28.9% versus 3.6%, p< or =0.005). CRP values in patients >60 years were on average 123.2 mg/l and significantly higher than in patients < or =60 years (35.5 mg/l, p< or =0.005). The ROC analysis resulted in a CRP cut-off value of 101.9 mg/l for patients >60 years for the existence of a perforation with a specificity of 72.4% and a sensitivity of 81.3% (AUC 0.811).


The CRP value showed a strong correlation with respect to the grade of inflammation and perforation. In conclusion, elderly patients with symptoms of appendicitis and a CRP value higher than 102 mg/l should undergo early diagnostic laparoscopy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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