What is Appendix?

  • The appendix is a small pouch-like organ measuring a few inches that are attached to the intestine.
  • Some believe it to be a vestigial organ( accessory pouch )
  • It briefly has no function and sometimes it gets infected( hence it is removed in severe infections)
  • Location- Right side of the abdomen (towards the lower right side). Hence the pain during infections settles in the right lower side of the abdomen.
  • Since its a pouch occasionally it can get clogged with stone, faeces. When it gets clogged the blood supply to that region is compromised. And when blood gets clogged, it is a good source for bacteria to grow. This is how it gets infected.
  • Occasionally the clogging is so severe that it bursts open. All this happens in stages. It is believed that these stages can occur over a period of 2 days and it gets worse with time.

 

PRESENTATION

Children can present with nonspecific symptoms like-

  • Stomach pain -it usually starts with pain in tummy( centre of abdomen)
  • Pain slowly travels to the right side
  • Since pain is severe, they can vomit, or have diarrhoea
  • This pain is known to occur early morning (not always)
  • Obviously, as the clogging worsens, the pain worsens.
  • If this gets infected then there can be fever, shivering
  • As the pain gets worse the child make walk with a limp (to prevent moving the tummy)

 

INVESTIGATIONS

If the symptoms are worrisome, then see your doctor

  • Appendicitis is a clinical diagnosis. Ultrasound of abdomen occasionally helps
  • Blood tests are done to see extent of infection
  • The doctor presses the tummy and sees the response of pain. Though the pain may not be present at that time, it may develop time (remember it is a progressive disease)
  • Ultrasound- to see infection and clogging in the appendix

PRACTICALLY if appendicitis is severe, the child is pale, suffering severe pain, cannot walk and vomits holding his tummy)

 

TREATMENT

  • Most children at early stages are treated with antibiotics( you don’t want children to have an operation if you can treat with antibiotics. Right? )
  • If the symptoms are severe and the doctor fears it might rupture then he will operate it ASAP. It can be done by opening the abdomen with an incision or through a scope( scope has cutting and repair tools, it is inserted in skin and through camera at end of scope, the operation is done. it’s called Laparoscopy)

 

CAN IT BE TRANSFERRED FROM ONE PERSON TO ANOTHER? –

NO. It is not communicable.

DANGER SIGNS

  • Severe pain, Pale
  • Tummy distention
  • Blue discolouration of tummy with swelling
  • Severe infection

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