Fast Five Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Appendicitis?

Jaime Shalkow, MD

Disclosures

December 09, 2016

In the past few years, a decrease in the frequency of appendicitis in Western countries has been reported, which may be related to improved dietary fiber intake. In fact, the higher incidence of appendicitis is believed to be related to poor fiber intake in such countries. There is a slight male preponderance of 3:2 in teenagers and young adults; in adults, the incidence of appendicitis is approximately 1.4 times greater in men than in women. The incidence of primary appendectomy is approximately equal in both sexes.

The incidence of appendicitis gradually rises from birth, peaks in the late teen years, and gradually declines in the geriatric years. The mean age when appendicitis occurs in the pediatric population is 6-10 years. Lymphoid hyperplasia is observed more often among infants and adults and is responsible for the increased incidence of appendicitis in these age groups. Younger children have a higher rate of perforation, with reported rates of 50%-85%. This finding is explained by the frequency of nonspecific symptoms in young children with appendicitis.

The median age at appendectomy is 22 years. Although rare, neonatal and even prenatal appendicitis have been reported. Clinicians must maintain a high index of suspicion in all age groups.

For more on the epidemiology of appendicitis, read here.

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