Appendicitis in Children | Symptoms & Treatment

Appendicitis in Children | Symptoms & Treatment


So appendicitis is one of the most
common reasons why a pediatric surgeon gets called to the emergency department
to see an otherwise healthy child. Appendicitis usually looks like first
kind of a vague stomach ache where a child may feel a little bit unwell, they
may feel a little nauseous they may be running a little bit of a
fever, but commonly they may otherwise look okay. It’s hard to
pinpoint where it hurts, most kids are gonna point to somewhere around their
belly button at first because the pain has not quote localized. This is
particularly tough in younger children who have a harder time articulating that
they’re having pain or where that pain is located. The child who’s complaining of
vague abdominal pain, particularly if there isn’t anybody else sick in the
home, certainly is something that the appendicitis should be considered. If it’s
severe, if the child can’t or won’t eat or if they’re throwing up … something
I would think about even more strongly. Appendicitis comes in two
basic flavors, you can have an uncomplicated appendicitis where the
appendix is inflamed, we recognize it at that point, we typically can take care of
that which usually means a surgical procedure to remove the appendix. If the
initial symptoms aren’t recognized or it progresses particularly quickly which
can happen more commonly in younger children for the reasons we’ve discussed,
then the appendix can build up so much pressure that it bursts. In some cases
this may cause a lot of contamination of the whole belly cavity and make patients
really sick, that’s what many of us think of when we think of a burst appendix. So
patients who have an appendectomy for a burst appendix whether or not that
appendix has been making the child really sick are typically here in the
hospital with us longer, they’re gonna stay on IV antibiotics throughout the
time that they’re here and stays of anywhere from a few days to a week or
more are all in the range of normal. So unfortunately there isn’t a whole lot
that you can do to prevent appendicitis, but you can recognize some of those
signs earlier on and make sure that you get your child checked out if they’re
exhibiting any of those concerning signs.

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