Appendicitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the appendix. It is a medical emergency. All cases require removal of the inflamed appendix, either by laparotomy or laparoscopy. Untreated, mortality is high, mainly because of peritonitis and shock.
What Is Appendix?
It is a narrow, hollow muscular tube present near the junction of the small and large intestine. It has no significant function in human beings.
What Do You Mean By Appendicitis?
It means inflammation of appendix (infection or swelling). The term acute means sudden development of the inflammatory process.
In Whom Does It Occur The Most?
It is most commonly seen in the second decade of life (adolescence), though it can occur in any age group.
What Is The Cause Of Appendicitis?
80% of cases of acute appendicitis are caused due to obstruction of lumen of appendix. The reason of obstruction could be a faecolith (i.e. hard faecal matter), worms if present in the intestines and rarely a foreign body like seeds.
What Are The Symptoms?
Severe pain around the navel which shifts after few hours to the right lower abdomen. Coughing and straining cause an increase in the pain. Pain is accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Less common complaints include burning on passing urine and loose stools.
How Is A Diagnosis Of Acute Appendicitis Made?
The clinical signs and symptoms as mentioned above, are the most important indications for reaching a diagnosis. In addition, raised total blood count confirms the diagnosis. Acute appendicitis is the commonest abdominal emergency and requires surgery.
Any Special Tests Required?
An abdomen ultrasound may help in reaching the diagnosis in case the clinical examination and other investigations are inconclusive.:
What Are The Complications Of Acute Appendicitis?
Gangrene and rupture of appendix causing generalised abdominal infection, Intra Abdominal Abscess (collection of pus) and Septicaemia (generalised, severe infection in blood) leading to catastrophic life threatening consequences.
What Is The Treatment?
The treatment of acute appendicitis is removal of the appendix (i.e. Appendicectomy).
Don’t We Need Appendix?
Appendix is a vestigial organ (something which has no well defined function) in humans and thus can be removed without any consequence.
Are There Any Side-Effects After Removal Of Appendix?
There are no side-effects as it has no definite function in the human body.