Appendicitis in Children: Signs Symptoms and more

While appendicitis can strike anyone at any age, it more usually affects children who are in school and infrequently affects infants under the age of one. An appendicitis diagnosis should be given considerable consideration if your child’s abdomen pain gets worse with movement, deep breathing, coughing, or sneezing.

What is Appendicitis?

The appendix, a pinky-sized, tube-like organ that is a component of the large intestine, is infected or inflamed in appendicitis. Most children’s appendices are situated in the lower right portion of the belly. Children’s emergency abdominal surgeries are most frequently performed due to appendicitis.

Signs and Symptoms

According to research, children and adults may experience various effects from appendicitis.

  • Pain in the bottom right side of the abdomen that starts near the belly button. Walking, leaping, or coughing frequently makes the discomfort worse, and it frequently gets worse over time.

  • Fever

  • Puke or feel queasy.

  • The inability to eat.

  • Diarrhea

Fever is a common sign of appendicitis in children, as well as “rebound tenderness,” which is a sharp pain that appears after pressure is applied to the lower right abdominal region and is immediately removed. Another symptom of an illness in children is an elevated white blood cell count.

Abdominal discomfort is frequently accompanied by a fairly particular combination of appendicitis symptoms in adults.

  • The inability to eat

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • A mild fever

  • Difficulty passing stool or gas

  • Body ache in the abdomen

  • Diarrhea or indigestion

What Triggers Pediatric Appendicitis?

Appendicitis results from an obstruction of the appendix brought on by hard mucus or stools, or enlargement brought on by a virus. The appendix swells and inflames as a result of the obstruction. If the inflammation and infection are not treated, the appendix may rupture (perforate), releasing its contents into the belly and allowing the infection to spread. Approximately 10 to 30% of children who sought emergency medical attention for severe stomach discomfort had appendicitis or another illness necessitating surgical treatment.

Also be Caused by

  • Stomach infection.

  • Gastrointestinal infection

  • Intestinal inflammation.

  • Stool, parasites, or appendix growths in your child.

Children’s Appendicitis Treatment: Simple and Complex

Surgical treatment refers to the surgical removal of the appendix. It may be done either publicly or laparoscopically, which only requires a small incision.

Without prompt treatment for appendicitis, the appendix may rupture and infect the peritoneum, the membrane lining the abdominal cavity. Peritonitis is an illness that spreads swiftly and has the potential to be fatal. About 30% of children with appendicitis will experience a perforated (ruptured) appendix before receiving treatment because appendicitis is harder to identify in children than it is in adults, especially in children under the age of 5. And according to some studies, it might reach 51% among children under the age of 5.

An immediate appendectomy is considered the best course of action for children with acute, nonperforated appendicitis (i.e., the appendix has not ruptured). Nevertheless, there are two surgical options available when the appendix has ruptured: an early appendectomy, which is carried out as soon as possible after admission, or an interval appendectomy, which is carried out several weeks later after the infection has been treated with medicines.

One of two Methods can be used to Perform an Appendectomy

  • The lower right abdomen of your child will receive numerous small incisions (cuts) during a laparoscopic procedure. Then, one of the incisions will be used to insert a video camera by your surgeon. Your child’s appendix will then be removed through the incisions using little tools. This kind of appendectomy heals more quickly and has fewer infections.

  • The lower right abdomen of your child will be cut open during a laparotomy. In more severe cases of appendicitis, this kind of appendectomy is frequently employed. It takes more time to recuperate.

The conservative approach has always been chosen, but new evidence indicates that children who have their ruptured appendices removed within 24 hours of diagnosis recover more quickly and are less likely to experience post-operative problems, such as surgical-site infections. The period of hospitalization might be shortened, the need for more antibiotics would be diminished, and these individuals might benefit from an early appendectomy, according to research.

A growing body of research supports the use of antibiotics as an alternative to surgery in people with acute appendicitis that is straightforward, meaning it does not exhibit any indications of perforation. If this is true in pediatric situations has also been the subject of recent studies. In children with acute, uncomplicated appendicitis, data from a 2017 meta-analysis of trials suggests non cooperative treatment is both safe and efficient.

Diagnostic Imaging for Appendicitis in Children

  • X-ray of the stomach.

  • A child’s organs can be seen in images during an abdominal ultrasound using high-frequency sound waves.

  • An image of your child’s body in cross-section is displayed via a computed tomography (CT) scan. Computer and X-ray technology are both used.

What Occurs Following Surgery?

Your child's hospital stay will be mostly influenced by how severe his or her appendicitis is. The vast majority of patients who have appendectomy for acute appendicitis only need to spend one night in the hospital before being released the following day (early appendicitis). Some people may even go return to their homes the very same day. In order to treat the advanced appendicitis, they will need to stay in the hospital for around five days to get more intravenous (IV) antibiotics (perforated appendicitis). This is what happens when your appendix bursts. As a result, this will aid in the treatment of the more serious sickness and prevent its recurrence.

What Risks are There for Complications Following Appendix Surgery?

  • After an appendectomy, complications might occasionally happen. These issues, which are more frequent in more severe ruptured appendicitis instances, can consist of −

  • Antibiotics are sometimes used to treat infections. In some cases, opening the incision is necessary to remove the infection.

  • Antibiotics may occasionally be used to treat abscesses (pockets of pus). It could be necessary to drain larger abscesses.

  • Small bowel obstructions: The small intestine may become partially or entirely blocked. Surgery can be required.

Updated on: 01-Mar-2023


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