The exact role of the appendix is not clearly understood but the theory is that it may be a regressing organ from our evolutionary past.
Other roles that the appendix may play include harbouring beneficial bacteria for improved gut health and functioning, or it may be involved in the immune system or fetal development.
Inflammation of the Appendix
The signs and symptoms of appendicitis may include:
- Sudden pain experienced in the lower right side of the abdomen.
- Decreased appetite.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Low-grade fever.
- Pain shifting from the right lower abdomen to the central abdomen.
When a patient presents with signs and symptoms of appendicitis, the most common way for the condition to be managed is by surgically removing the infected tissue through a laparoscopic (keyhole) procedure where small incisions are made over the skin and slender instruments are used to perform the surgery.
If the inflammation is complicated, then a slightly larger incision is made over the lower right side of the abdomen and the appendix is removed.
In cases where the appendix has ruptured, the management will entail performing a laparotomy where a large incision is made to gain access to as much of the abdomen as possible so that the peritoneum can be cleaned properly from the bacteria and fecal matter that would have spilled in the abdominal cavity after rupturing of the appendix.
The Role of Antibiotic in Appendicitis
Four randomized trials were performed by Nottingham University Hospitals in England and the following findings were made:
- In 63 percent of cases, appendicitis was managed successfully with intravenous antibiotics alone.
- Those who received antibiotics to manage the appendicitis were 39 percent less likely to develop complications such as those who underwent surgery.
- Around 20 percent of patients who were managed with antibiotics had a return of their pain or other symptoms associated with appendicitis and needed to return back to the hospital with some of them having developed serious infections.
The researchers of the mentioned studies state that physicians would need to determine simple but solid ways to identify which patients with appendicitis would be candidates for antibiotic therapy.
Still have something to ask?
Get help from other members!