Appendicitis in Children – Diagnostic Challenges and Treatment
The occurrence of Appendicitis in Children is common nowadays. 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
- Children between 10 and 20 are more prone to get appendicitis than children less than 10 years old. Appendicitis is reported for children as young as three to four years old also. Whenever the child complains of stomach pain, watch out for appendicitis symptoms.
- Pain is the next important symptom. This 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. This is also an important reason.
- Watch out if the child who complains of abdomen pain stops playing. This slow down of activity can also 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 diagnostic challenges of Appendicitis in Children
- Watch out for symptoms associated with appendicitis in children
- Pain occurs after applying and releasing a pressure in the abdomen area. This pain is termed as rebound pain. The physicians or general paediatricians should watch out for the presence of rebound pain. If rebound pain is present then they should refer the child to a surgeon.
Treating Appendicitis in Children
- The child should undergo an immediate surgery by laparoscopic methods if diagnosis confirms appendicitis. The surgeon can confirm the symptoms for the presence of appendicitis. The surgeon also confirms by ultrasound or scan reports.
- The Appendix sometimes ruptures or perforates before diagnosis. This condition warrants an immediate appendix removal surgery. Because the abdomen area needs a clean before the infection spreads into the blood stream. The surgeon removed the ruptured appendix after cleaning.