J Korean Soc Coloproctol.  2002 Oct;18(5):274-280.

Clinical Analysis of Acute Appendicitis in the Elderly

  • 1Department of Surgery, Seoul Metropolitan Dongbu General Hospital, Seoul, Korea. ysso@hananet.net


PURPOSE: Surgeons are confronted frequently with the diagnostic and therapeutic challenges in the cases of acute appendicitis in the elderly. Despite the improvements in management, the morbidity and mortality remain high. In order to verify contributing factors of high morbidity and mortality and establish more proper diagnostic and therapeutic strategies, we compared the clinical characteristics and outcomes of acute appendicitis in the elderly with those of younger people.
We retrospectively reviewed medical records of 30 elderly and 248 younger people who were pathologically diagnosed as appendicitis after an appendectomy.
There was no difference in the rates of occurrence of right lower abdominal pain and tenderness between the two people. The rate of appendiceal perforation was significantly higher in the elderly. Prehospital delay was significantly longer in the elderly. Concomitant diseases were more prevalent in the elderly. The hospital stay was significantly longer and the rate of complication was relatively higher in the elderly also.
When a vague and unexplained abdominal discomfort occurs in the elderly, we should suspect and rule out acute appendicitis as the cause of the discomfort. Early aggressive diagnostic and therapeutic interventions are essential components in managing acute appendicitis in the elderly. In addition, perioperative evaluation and prophylactic measures for concomitant diseases are needed to decrease morbidity and mortality in the elderly.


Acute appendicitis; Elderly; Acute abdomen
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