The diagnostic value of serum C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in children with perforated appendicitis was prospectively studied in 78 consecutive patients with histologically confirmed appendicitis. The patients were divided into two groups: group A included 56 patients with perforated appendicitis and group B consisted of 22 patients with simple appendicitis. Serum CRP level and leucocyte count were assayed in all and abdominal ultrasonography was performed in 75. The mean age of group A patients was significantly lower than that of group B patients (7.5 vs. 10.4 years, P < 0.001). Group A patients had a significantly higher mean serum CRP levels than group B patients (92 vs. 31 mg/l, P < 0.001), while the mean leucocyte count was comparable in the two groups. Of 75 examined patients, 73 (97%) had a pre-operative sonographic diagnosis of appendicitis. Conclusion: Perforation is a common complication in children with appendicitis, especially in those of young age and with prolonged pain duration. Greatly increased serum CRP levels (> 50 mg/1) and abdominal ultrasonography are important diagnostic aids in such patients.
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