When I was young I was diagnosed with appendicitis after I had severe and persistent abdominal pain. The doctors amongst other routine tests had asked for an ultrasound to be certain when I was admitted to the hospital. The entire process of getting diagnosed was long and dragged out and by the time I finally reached the operation theater, I was utterly exhausted.
Such arduous process of diagnosing appendicitis and differentiating it from other issues related to abdominal pain is what scientists want to tackle. A biomarker panel consisting of white blood cell count, C-reactive proteins and myeloid related protein 18/4 (MRP 18/4), has been developed that is used to determine the risk of acute appendicitis in pediatric patients who complain of abdominal pains.
To check the accuracy of this diagnostic test, a prospective observational study was conducted on patients from the ages of 2 to 20 years that indicated abdominal pain amongst other symptoms in 29 different US emergency centers. Of the 1,887 patients who completed the study, the panel was able to correctly identify 533 patients who did not have appendicitis. Though they did have some false positives, the study indicated a high sensitivity of the biomarker panel as well as a 97.3% negative predictive value for this test.
This indicated that the biomarker panel, a blood test that can be done on the bedside of the patient, can have a high predictive rate in determining the risk of appendicitis in patients. This is vital because such a test would lessen the need for patients to have CT scans or ultrasound scans done to corroborate the diagnosis, thereby lowering costs incurred.