What causes appendicitis?

Updated: Jul 23, 2018
  • Author: Sandy Craig, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

Reportedly, appendicitis is caused by obstruction of the appendiceal lumen from a variety of causes (see Etiology). Independent of the etiology, obstruction is believed to cause an increase in pressure within the lumen. Such an increase is related to continuous secretion of fluids and mucus from the mucosa and the stagnation of this material. At the same time, intestinal bacteria within the appendix multiply, leading to the recruitment of white blood cells (see the image below) and the formation of pus and subsequent higher intraluminal pressure.

Technetium-99m radionuclide scan of the abdomen sh Technetium-99m radionuclide scan of the abdomen shows focal uptake of labeled WBCs in the right lower quadrant consistent with acute appendicitis.

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