Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix , a finger like projection situated at joining of small intestine and large intestine. The appendix is located in the lower right portion of the abdomen. It has no known function. Removal of the appendix appears to cause no change in digestive function. If once the inflammation starts it is not corrected by medical treatment easily. As a medical emergency it should be managed carefully.
When treated promptly, most patients recover without difficulty. If treatment is delayed, the appendix can burst, causing infection and even death. Appendicitis is the most common acute surgical emergency of the abdomen. Anyone can get appendicitis, but it occurs most often between the ages of 10 and 30.
When the central part of the appendix, the lumen is obstructed it leads to inflammation. The pressure increases and the impaired blood flow, the inflammation, if not treated the rupture or the gangrene formation occurs.
The common causes for obstruction are:-
1. Fecal impaction
2. Bacterial infection
3. Viral infection
4. Traumatic injury to the abdomen.
5. Lymphatic spreading of inflammation.
6. Genetic factors.
Symptoms of appendicitis may include:
– Pain in the abdomen, first around the belly button, then moving to the lower right area
– Loss of appetite
– Constipation or diarrhea
– Inability to pass gas
– Low fever that begins after other symptoms
– Abdominal distention.
People With Special Concerns
Patients with special conditions may not have the set of symptoms above and may simply experience a general feeling of being unwell. Patients with these conditions include:-
– People who use immunosuppressive therapy such as steroids
– People who have received a transplanted organ
– HIV virus infected people.
– People with diabetes mellitus.
– People who have cancer or undergone chemotherapy
– Obese people
The pregnant women, children, old age persons need special attention to rule out appendicitis. As the nausea and vomiting is usually seen in pregnant women which may sustain the signs in those ladies. So the diagnosis should be done carefully.
The diagnosis is made by complete physical examination, medical history, laboratory findings,x-ray etc.
If the medical treatment is not effective, the surgical removal of appendix is the treatment of choice. The antibiotics are prescribed to controle post operative infection.