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All about appendicitis causes of appendicitis symptoms of appendicitis diagnosis of appendicitis treatment for appendicitis appendectomy Articles in emergencies of digestive system - appendicitis gastrointestinal bleeding rectal bleeding ileus peritonitis

What causes appendicitis?

The causes of appendicitis are not well understood, but it is believed to occur as a result of one or more of these factors: an obstruction within the appendix, the development of an ulceration (an abnormal change in tissue accompanied by the death of cells) within the appendix, and the invasion of bacteria. Under these conditions, bacteria may multiply within the appendix.

The appendix may become swollen and filled with pus (a fluid formed in infected tissue, consisting of while blood cells and cellular debris), and may eventually rupture. Signs of rupture include the presence of symptoms for more than 24 hours, a fever, a high white blood cell count, and a fast heart rate. Very rarely, the inflammation and symptoms of appendicitis may disappear but recur again later.

In most cases, a blockage inside the appendix probably starts a process in which the appendix becomes inflamed and infected. If inflammation continues without treatment, the appendix can rupture. A ruptured appendix spills bacteria-laden intestinal contents into the abdominal cavity, causing peritonitis, which may result in a life-threatening infection. A rupture also may cause an abscess (a pus-filled pocket of infection) to form. In a woman, the ovaries and fallopian tubes may become infected, and the resulting blockage of the fallopian tubes may cause infertility. A ruptured appendix also may allow bacteria to infect the bloodstream - a life-threatening condition called sepsis.

More information on appendicitis

What is appendicitis? - Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. Appendicitis is the most common abdominal emergency found in children and young adults.
What causes appendicitis? - The causes of appendicitis are believed to occur as a result of an obstruction within the appendix, the development of an ulceration, and the invasion of bacteria.
What are the symptoms of appendicitis? - The most common signs and symptoms of appendicitis are abdominal pain, tenderness, vomiting and fever.
How is appendicitis diagnosed? - Appendicitis is diagnosed based upon the patient's symptoms, a physical examination including a rectal examination, blood tests to check for signs of infection.
What's the treatment for appendicitis? - The treatment of appendicitis is an immediate appendectomy. This may be done by opening the abdomen in the standard open appendectomy technique.
How is an appendectomy done? - An appendectomy (or appendicectomy) is the surgical removal of the vermiform appendix. Appendicectomy may be performed laparoscopically or as an open operation. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005