Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix a worm like pendant attached to the cecum which is the proximal part of large intestines. Having no function at all this pendant might get inflamed and then lead to operation. The worse thing that can happen is the perforation of the appendix which is a highly serious condition.
Appendicitis is quite common condition affecting both young and old generations. Still the children develop the state in most of the cases. The highest incidence is among young men between 10 and 14 and girls between 15 and 19 years of age. The pain in the abdomen is the main symptom. It is strong and severe sometimes located to the lower right area of the abdomen and most of the times it irradiates and spreads on the whole abdomen. The complete blood count may point to increased number of white blood cells. Patient feels nausea and may vomit or develop diarrhea. In all the patients every other condition must be excluded before the definite diagnosis of appendicitis is set since there are a lot of states that mimic the inflammation of the appendix. This is to be done urgent as the appendix may burst and cause severe complications. In women pelvic inflammatory disease, ruptured ovarian follicles or cysts, tubal pregnancies or endometriosis may mimic the acute appendicitis. Sometimes the diagnosis is not certain until the operation is performed. The surgery is recommended without postponing if the symptoms are clear. If not it may be delayed until the definite setting of diagnosis.
The specific sign about the rupture is that pain vanishes instantly. A sign of rigid abdominal muscles may also point to the rupture. The body temperature is high. The heart beats faster. The condition is serious as the content of the appendix is spilled into the peritoneum (abdominal sack containing intestines and abdominal organs). This leads to peritonitis and if not treated on time may cause the sepsis. Surgeon must perform the operation, resect the appendix and clean the inner surface of the peritoneum properly. High dosage of antibiotics are prescribed and administered and the healing process takes much longer than after the regular operation of appendicitis without rupture. Patients are held in hospital for a week or two and are advised to stay away from strenuous activities for at least a month.
So it is important for a doctor to set the correct diagnosis of appendicitis on time. Correct diagnosis leads to safe removal of the inflamed appendix (appendectomy) and reduces the chance of appendix perforation.