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Acute Care Advisor 2016.4 Copyright © 2016 RelayHealth, a division of McKesson Technologies Inc. All rights reserved.

What is appendicitis?

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Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. The appendix is a small, finger shaped pouch where the large and small intestines join. In most cases inflammation of the appendix is caused by a blockage of the opening of the appendix. Sometimes it is caused by infection in the digestive tract.

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It is important to get treatment for appendicitis before the appendix ruptures. A rupture is a break or tear in the appendix. If an infected appendix breaks open, infection and bowel movement may spread inside the belly. This can cause a life-threatening infection called peritonitis. Because of the risk of rupture, appendicitis is considered an emergency.

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