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Nurse Pract. 1999 Aug;24(8):42, 44, 49, 52-3; quiz 54-5.

Recognizing the various presentations of appendicitis.

Author information

  • Department of Orthopaedics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, USA.

Abstract

Appendicitis is one of the most common causes of acute abdominal pain in the industrialized world. Appendicitis must be considered in the differential diagnosis of any patient presenting with abdominal pain. Workup may include blood tests, abdominal radiographs, abdominal ultrasound, and focused appendix computed tomography. Unfortunately, none of these provides definitive results. Although several signs and symptoms are associated with appendicitis, their inconsistent presentation, especially among the young and the elderly, can lead to an erroneous diagnosis. The classic sequence of symptoms includes the onset of vague epigastric or periumbilical pain; associated nausea, anorexia, or unsustained vomiting; and pain migrating to the right lower quadrant. In uncomplicated cases, the treatment of appendicitis is appendectomy. However, less definitive presentations merit further diagnostic testing and close follow-up.

PMID:
10479109
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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