Acute appendicitis is a rapidly developing inflammation of the appendix of the cecum.
There is no disease in surgery more known than acute appendicitis, but this “popularity” in no way makes it simple and easy to identify and treat. Any surgeon who often encounters this disease in his professional activity will tell you that establishing a diagnosis of acute appendicitis in each case is not an easy task, variable and is based primarily on the experience and intuition of a doctor.
The appendix is a tubular structure extending from the wall of the cecum and blindly ending with a length of 4-10 cm, a diameter of 0.5-0.7 cm.
Location of the appendix
The wall of the appendix is composed of the same 4 layers as the other parts of the intestine, and its thickness is about the same. But although the appendix is part of the intestine, it practically does not participate in the functions of food digestion. Less than a century ago, in scientific circles, it was considered a useless part of the body, moreover, very dangerous and unpredictable. Imagine that you have a speech at an important conference tomorrow, an international flight, or your own wedding. You are healthy and vigorous, full of grandiose plans. And suddenly at night (as a rule, at this time of day) you suddenly develop abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, a doctor in the emergency room of a 24-hour hospital diagnoses: acute appendicitis. Plans collapse, you find yourself on the operating table. And this can happen to anyone at any time. A logical and justified question arises: if he, this unfortunate outgrowth, is not needed at all, shouldn’t everyone remove it in advance at a certain age? Say, in childhood? There is no need. The experience of preventive planned appendectomy by the servicemen of Nazi Germany in the 30s of the XX century showed that in the future, people who underwent surgery were much more likely to suffer from chronic intestinal diseases and infectious diseases in general.
As it turned out with further research, there is an increased content of lymphoid tissues in the appendix. Most likely, given its location on the border of the small and large intestines, it is primarily an organ of the immune system – the “guardian” of the small intestinal microflora. There are no unnecessary organs in the human body, and the appendix is no exception. Few epidemiological data: the incidence of acute appendicitis is 4-6 people per 1000 population per year. Previously, it was considered the most frequent acute surgical disease, in recent years it is inferior in frequency to acute pancreatitis and acute cholecystitis. It develops more often at the age of 18-42 years. Almost 2 times more often women get it. It can develop in childhood, more often at 6-12 years.
Speaking about the causes of the disease, we will warn you right away: do not blame the seeds! There is no one, obvious and unconditional reason for the development of acute appendicitis. The alimentary factor, that is, the nature of the diet, can play a certain role. It has been observed that in countries with a higher consumption of meat, the incidence of acute appendicitis is higher. The explanation is the fact that meat food is more likely to cause the occurrence of putrefactive processes in the intestines and violations of evacuation. In countries with a high culture of consumption of fried sunflower seeds, such as in Russia, data on an increased incidence of acute appendicitis have not been identified. In childhood, the cause of the disease may be the presence of helminths in the large intestine with their penetration into the appendix with impaired evacuation from the latter.