Encyclopedia > Appendicitis

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Appendicitis is a condition caused by an inflammation of the appendix.

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Causes It is possible for matter to become lodged in the appendix, leading to bacterial infection, or appendicitis. If the condition is untreated, the appendix will eventually burst, leading to septicemia and eventually death.

Signs and symptoms

  • Abdominal pain that usually is starting in the middle of the abdomen (just above the belly button), moving to the right lower side of the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Pain when the right side of the abdomen is touched
  • Low-grade fever
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Diagnosis Diagnosis is based on history and physical examination backed by blood tests and other diagnostic procedures.
A standard test for appendicitis when abdominal pain is present is maximum tenderness at McBurney's point[?], which is located on the righthand side one-third of the distance between the hipbone and the navel, or approximately one hand's width.


Appendicitis can be treated by removal of the appendix through a surgical procedure called an appendicectomy, or, more commonly, an appendectomy.


Most appendicitis patients recover easily with treatment, but complications can occur if treatment is delayed or if the infection spreads due to a burst.

See also: Gastroenterology

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