What is acute appendicitis?

Acute appendicitis is a rapidly progressing inflammation of a small part of the large intestine called the appendix. The appendix is a pouch-like structure located in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen near the area where the small intestine joins the large intestine. The exact function of the appendix is not known.

Acute appendicitis is a common and serious condition that requires immediate surgery for treatment. In acute appendicitis, the appendix swells and begins to fill with rapidly growing bacteria and pus. This results in the hallmark symptoms of acute appendicitis including pain in the right lower area of the abdomen and fever. However, not all people with acute appendicitis will experience typical symptoms.

Acute appendicitis is a medical emergency that generally requires prompt removal of the appendix to prevent life-threatening complications, such as ruptured appendix and peritonitis (infection of the membrane that lines your inner abdomen).

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have symptoms of acute appendicitis, such as fever and abdominal pain.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of acute appendicitis?

Classic symptoms of acute appendicitis include pain in the right lower abdomen, where the appendix is located, that gets progressively sharp and more intense. Pain increases when pressure is put on the area (called the McBurney’s point), and the area becomes even more painful and tender when the pressure is released (rebound tenderness). This is one exam a health care provider uses to diagnosis acute appendicitis.... Read more about acute appendicitissymptoms

CAUSES

What causes acute appendicitis?

Acute appendicitis can occur when a piece of food, stool or object becomes trapped in the appendix, causing irritation, inflammation, and the rapid growth of bacteria and infection. The appendix is a pouch-like structure located in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen near the area where the small intestine joins the large intestine.... Read more about acute appendicitiscauses

TREATMENTS

How is acute appendicitis treated?

Acute appendicitis is a treatable condition. If acute appendicitis is diagnosed and treated promptly before the appendix ruptures, the outcome is generally very good. Treatment for appendicitis includes hospitalization and:... Read more about acute appendicitistreatments

Medical Reviewer: Williams, Robert, MD Last Annual Review Date: Jan 10, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

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