Appendicitis is a condition in which the appendix (a small organ that extends from the colon or the large intestine adjacent to the caecum) gets inflamed.
It is a common condition that can occur when symptoms develop suddenly (acute cases) or that develop gradually over a period of time (chronic case). The patient may experience pain in the stomach and if left untreated may cause serious complications.
There are no specific causes but is attributed to the blockage of the appendix that may occur due to:
You may experience:
The doctor may conduct a physical examination and ask for medical history after which tests may be advised such as blood tests and urine analysis to look out for signs of infection. Imaging tests of the abdomen like x-rays of the abdomen and chest (to eliminate pneumonia as the cause), CT or MRI scan, and ultrasound of the abdomen can also be advised by the doctor.
The aim in treating appendicitis is to control the pain and infection that the condition causes through pain killers, antibiotics, drainage of the abscess (if present) and maintain the health status of the patient through intravenous administration of fluids.
In addition to the above measures, acute cases require emergency surgery called appendectomy to remove the appendix and clear out any infection (if the appendix has ruptured). It can be performed as an open surgery or through laparoscopy.
These are less common as compared to the acute cases but are managed in the same manner. Initially, the infection is brought under control along with other symptoms such as pain. The patient is kept under further observation. If the condition does not resolve or if it worsens, surgery is advised.
If the condition is left untreated, the infection may progress to develop into an appendicular abscess. This abscess may rupture to spread the infection into the abdominal cavity (called peritonitis) affecting other surrounding organs. It is a medical emergency that requires immediate surgery. The infection may even spread through the blood after appendix ruptures.
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