Acute appendicitis is defined as the acute inflammation of the appendix. It is the most common surgical emergency. Acute appendicitis can affect all age groups but the majority of cases occur between ages 11 and 20.
Symptoms of acute appendicitis:It starts with pain around the umbilicus or below the xiphisternum (the lowest part of the sternum) which is called the epigastrium. In the next 4-18 hours, the pain will migrate to the lower right quadrant of the abdomen. Pain can be present in back or the right flank. Pain of acute appendicitis increases in intensity with passage of time.
Vomiting and anorexia can occur after the feeling of pain. Besides, an elevated body temperature is a sign of an ongoing inflammation in the body.
Causes of acute appendicitis:The appendix contains a lumen in it. Anything that causes obstruction of the lumen will cause appendicitis. In adults, the lumen is commonly obstructed by fecaliths. Fecalith means hard fecal matter.
In teens and children, the lumen can be obstructed due to inflammation (submucosal lymphoid hyperplasia).
If symptoms are present, then the next step is to immediately go the nearest emergency room. The doctor will examine the patient and will order blood tests to check the white blood cells count. Besides, a CT scan can be done to confirm the diagnosis.
What is the treatment of acute appendicitis ?Urgent appendectomy is the cure. It can be done either laparoscopic or open. This choice will be taken by the surgeon according to the general condition of the patient and the degree of inflammation.