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South Med J. 1998 Jul;91(7):669-71.

Geriatric acute perforated appendicitis: atypical symptoms lead to a difficult diagnosis.


A geriatric man was admitted to the hospital with left-sided chest pain and subsequently had a full cardiac evaluation by a cardiologist. The workup revealed no cardiac abnormalities, and the patient was discharged on the second hospital day. He returned within 48 hours for recurrence of the left-sided chest pain and the interval development of epigastric and left upper quadrant abdominal pain. He was admitted to the hospital for evaluation and serial examinations. Mild diffuse abdominal tenderness developed overnight, and computed tomography of the abdomen revealed a perforated appendix with suppuration. An appendectomy was done immediately. The diagnosis of appendicitis in the geriatric patient is occasionally difficult because of atypical and sometimes misleading physical findings.

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