September 28, 2021
“When the symptoms of appendicitis go beyond 24 hours, it can escalate into a generalized peritonitis, and although it is rare, it can cause intestinal obstruction due to adhesions in the future. The diagnosis is based on the physical examination and the evolution of the symptoms in the child, performing blood tests and imaging tests such as ultrasound. If the latter is negative and the signs of acute appendicitis persist, a CT scan with contrast is ordered ”, says Dr. José Luis Apaza, pediatric surgeon at our clinic
What is and why does acute appendicitis occur?
It is the inflammatory process of the appendix, an extension of the large intestine that does not perform any function after birth. A child may develop acute appendicitis due to factors such as: constipation, a history of respiratory or digestive infection, and parasite infection.
What are its symptoms?
Abdominal pain for more than 6 hours with increasing intensity and located on the right side of the lower abdomen, nausea and vomiting, fever, general malaise, dehydration and persistent headache. These symptoms should be addressed within 24 hours.
What complications can appendicitis cause if it is not treated within 24 hours?
It can cause a localized or generalized peritonitis, produced by the perforation of the appendix. After this, the feces from the large intestine pass into the abdominal cavity, triggering a generalized infection and putting the patient’s life at risk.
Once diagnosed, does it require surgery?
Yes, the intervention should be performed as soon as possible by a pediatric surgeon. It can be conventional through the opening of the abdominal cavity, or laparoscopic through small holes in the abdomen and with the necessary equipment to guarantee the procedure.
The postoperative period can last from 3 to 5 days of hospitalization, during which time the child receives antibiotics, analgesics and enteral feeding, which leads to a satisfactory evolution.
Dr. José Luis Apaza
Pediatric Surgeon at Clínica Ricardo Palma