Acute appendicitis (occupational acute appendicitis, popularly called “blind”) is the most common sudden inflammation in the abdominal cavity. In developed countries, about 7% of the population suffers from this disease during their lifetime. Appendicitis most commonly occurs in children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19. In the Czech Republic, doctors treat about 10,000 cases of acute appendicitis every year. Among patients with appendicitis, men predominate slightly. Appendicitis can also be chronic, in which case it exhibits less pronounced long-term symptoms.
What is appendicitis?
Although we usually talk about appendicitis, in fact it is an inflammation of the appendix vermiformis, appendicitis (cecum). The appendix is the “blind” part of the colon, located below where the small intestine opens into it. A process or worm-like protrusion is attached to its end. As the Czech name suggests, it is a narrow tubular formation, as wide as a pencil and usually 5-10 centimeters long. This is the so-called vestigial organ – a remnant of development (similar, for example, to wisdom teeth), which does not perform any functions during digestion. There is no evidence that the removal of the appendix adversely affects human health. There are hypotheses that the shoot serves as a kind of reservoir of intestinal bacteria, but there is no consensus on this matter.
Where is the app?
The appendix is located in the lower right abdomen, and doctors use two points to locate it:
The McBurney point is on the line between the navel and the anterior shaft of the pelvic bone, about 6 cm from the pelvic bone. This is also the place where the pain of the appendix is most pronounced in the classic course.
Lanz’s point is on the line between the front spines of the femur, on the border of its right and middle third.
The causes of appendicitis
Why appendicitis occurs is not fully understood. The most likely cause is a blockage of the appendix with the subsequent development of inflammation. The blockage can be caused by so-called coprolite, which is a hardened mass of stools, swelling of the mucous membranes, or the presence of a foreign body. Parasitic intestinal diseases or an imbalance of intestinal microbiotics are also mentioned as causes of the disease.
Symptoms of appendicitis
How to recognize appendicitis? The pain of the appendix is insidious in that it first appears around the navel and only after a few hours passes into the right lower abdomen. The pain is more pronounced with movement. Other symptoms that can accompany acute appendicitis include:
rapid heart rate and respiratory rate
fever (high fever is rare)
Appendicitis in children
If you suspect appendicitis in a young child, always see your doctor. Before visiting the department, you can use a simple home test: ask the child to jump and fall on both heels or jump off a low chair (do not jump on one leg). If the blow does not cause pain, then the risk of appendix is less.
Diagnostics – what examinations are waiting for you at the doctor
If acute appendicitis is suspected, the doctor first conducts a physical examination (pulse, pressure, temperature, respiratory rate), and then probes the stomach, taps and listens for bowel movements. A rectal examination is also performed. After this, the patient is usually sent for an ultrasound examination of the abdominal cavity, less often computed tomography or general X-ray is performed. In addition, blood is drawn to confirm ongoing inflammation and urinalysis may be done to rule out a urinary tract infection.
Treatment of appendicitis
Forget about home appendectomy. Treatment of acute appendicitis requires prompt surgery – if treatment is ignored, there is a risk of perforation of the appendix and peritonitis or abscess. Although it is possible to treat the appendix with antibiotics, they are rarely used. There is no need to worry about appendectomy, this is one of the most common procedures, with an uncomplicated course it takes only a few minutes and recovery goes without problems. Removal of the inflamed process is performed in two ways – either with the classic open surgery, or with a more gentle laparoscopic procedure, when surgical instruments are inserted into the abdominal cavity with only three small holes. The type of method is chosen by the physician and also depends on the specific surgical site.
Recovery after the “blind”
The duration of recovery is individual, after a classical operation it is 6-8 weeks, after a laparoscopic 2-3 weeks, but it also depends on the type of work and how you will subjectively feel. When it comes to exercising, wait 6 weeks for the abdominal wall to heal completely – you can gradually get in shape with regular wellness walks. You can heal a scar (even small scars