Appendicitis is an irritation, inflammation and infection of the appendix (a narrow, hollow tube that branches off the large intestine).
- The appendix functions as part of the immune system during the first few years of life.
- After this time period, the appendix stops functioning and other organs take over the job of fighting infection.
- Appendicitis is the most common cause of emergency surgery in childhood.
Since an infected appendix can rupture and be a life-threatening problem, please call your physician immediately if you think your child has appendicitis.
A comprehensive level of care
Appendicitis can be an emergency situation. The General Surgery Program at Boston Children's Hospital has surgeons ready day and night to diagnose appendicitis and then remove your child's appendix, either before or after it has ruptured.
A new test to diagnose appendicitis
Appendicitis is the most common childhood surgical emergency, but the diagnosis can be challenging, especially in children, often leading to either unnecessary surgery in children without appendicitis, or a ruptured appendix and serious complications when the condition is missed.
Now, emergency medicine physicians and scientists at the Proteomics Center at Boston Children's Hospital demonstrate that a protein detectable in urine might serve as a "biomarker" for appendicitis.