Appendicitis is common in the young population. But what happens if appendicitis may have occurred in children as young as four or five years old? Children that young may not exactly tell what the pain is all about and it becomes the duty of the paediatrician or physician to observe the symptoms carefully and report.
The Challenges of Diagnosing Appendicitis in Children
- Though children between 10 and 20 are more prone to get appendicitis than children who are less than 10 years old, the incidence of appendicitis have been reported for children as young as three to four years old. So be prepared to watch out for symptoms whenever the child complains of stomach pain.
- Pain is followed by other symptoms like vomiting and fever.
- The child will have loss of appetite and may at times have diarrhoea.
- In most cases the children come with complications like perforations that may lead to sepsis. This is solely due to delay in diagnosis.
- The overlapping of childhood related medical sickness on the symptoms associated with appendicitis is also another important reason.
- Watch out if the child who complains of abdomen pain stops playing. This slow down of activity can give a hint.
- The child would not allow the physicians / general paediatricians to touch the abdomen area and worse the child would make the abdomen tense (hard) hindering the physician to elicit the signs. This should also give a hint.
Overcoming diagnosing challenges
- Watch out for symptoms associated with appendicitis in children
- The physicians / general paediatricians should watch out for the pain that occurs immediately after the pressure is applied and released in the abdomen area. This pain is termed as rebound pain. If the physicians / general paediatricians observe the rebound pain they should immediately refer to the surgeon.
- If the symptoms are rightly diagnosed and the presence of appendicitis is confirmed by ultrasound or scan reports, the child is recommended an immediate surgery by laparoscopic methods.
- If the child’s appendicitis has been confirmed after the appendix is ruptured or perforated, an immediate surgery is conducted because the abdomen area needs to be cleaned up before the infection spreads into the blood stream. After cleaning the ruptured appendix is removed.
Dr Maran is an experienced Surgeon in the field of Gastro-enterology. He specializes in Advanced laparoscopic Surgery procedures of the gastro-intestinal (GI) tracts. Dr. Maran is also a leading Bariatric Surgeon in Chennai and has a penchant for addressing problems concerning Obesity.