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Acute Appendicitis

Acute appendicitis -- a condition caused by inflammation of the appendix -- is considered a medical emergency. It develops when there is a blockage within the appendix. Without treatment, the appendix can burst, causing infection and even death. Possible symptoms include abdominal pain, fever, and constipation. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, surgery is required to remove the appendix.

An Overview of Acute Appendicitis

Acute appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. Once the condition begins, there is no effective medical therapy. Therefore, acute appendicitis is considered a medical emergency. With prompt treatment, most patients recover without difficulty. However, if treatment is delayed, the appendix can burst, causing infection and even death. Although anyone can get acute appendicitis, it occurs most often in people between the ages of 10 and 30.
 

Understanding the Appendix

The appendix is a small, tube-like structure that is attached to the first part of the large intestine, also called the colon. The appendix is located in the lower-right portion of the abdomen, near where the small intestine attaches to the large intestine. It has no known function. Removal of the appendix appears to cause no change in digestive function.
 

Causes of Acute Appendicitis

Acute appendicitis can be caused by a blockage of the inside of the appendix, known as the lumen. Common causes of blockage include:
 
  • Feces
  • Infections that lead to swelling
  • Trauma.
     
(Click Causes of Appendicitis for more information.)
 

Information on Appendicitis

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