The vermiform appendix is a tiny tubular organ that is close-ended on one end and the other is connected to the cecum. It is sometimes called the tail of the large intestine or colon. It is located below the junction between the small and large intestine (ileocecal valve). It has no known digestive function but is highly composed of lymphatic tissues. This implies that it is responsible for the destruction of foreign organism that enters the body.
Recent researches show that removal of the appendix has no significant difference in the person’s overall health.
Appendicitis occurs when the appendix got inflamed and died due to lack of blood in it from obstruction of blood vessels. The obstruction may be due to tumor, fecal impaction and strictures on the distal part of the colon.
Appendicitis is either classified as acute or chronic. Acute appendicitis develops rapidly and presents clearer symptoms, making it easier to be diagnosed. Chronic appendicitis develops slower with no definite manner of presenting its symptoms resulting in difficult diagnosis. There are also cases wherein clients do not manifest any symptom; this is called “atypical appendicitis”. This has a high mortality rate for there is no reason for the client to be alarmed and seek medical attention. Atypical appendicitis is common among elderly, patients with HIV, diabetes mellitus, previous abdominal surgeries, and overweight.
Appendicitis in the United States and Europe is as high as 6%-7% of their population. In the Philippines, it is one of the leading causes of surgical interventions.
Myths on appendicitis also exist. One of the most popular, non-scientific reasons in developing it is through eating massive amount of tomato seeds. It was believed to enter the appendix, causing it rupture. Logically and medically speaking, seeds found in a deceased appendix may have pass through its opening through backward flow of digestive materials from obstructed part of the alimentary canal.