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Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2012 Oct;51(10):928-32. doi: 10.1177/0009922812441659. Epub 2012 Apr 17.

Increased incidence of perforated appendicitis in children with obesity.

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Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC 20010, USA.


Based on their clinical impression, the authors hypothesized that children with obesity may more commonly present with perforated appendicitis. Therefore, the authors reviewed their experience from 2008 to 2010 to determine whether obesity affected the clinical presentation of appendicitis. Variables studied were height, weight, use of diagnostic imaging, and clinical findings of appendicitis at presentation. Outcomes assessed were length of stay and complication rate. The study identified 319 patients with appendicitis. Children with obesity were more likely (P = .026) to present with perforation (28/62, 45%) than nonobese patients (78/257, 30%). Neither length of stay nor complication rate was affected by the presence of obesity. The data suggest that children with obesity are more likely to present with perforated appendicitis. This finding suggests that the diagnosis of appendicitis may be more difficult in obese patients or their presentation may be delayed. Practitioners should have heightened awareness in children with obesity and symptoms of abdominal pain.

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