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The appendix is a finger-shaped tube that is attached to the large intestine. Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix. Without treatment, appendicitis can cause the appendix to tear (rupture). A ruptured appendix can lead to a life-threatening infection. It can also lead to the formation of a painful collection of pus (abscess) in the appendix.

What are the causes?

This condition may be caused by a blockage in the appendix that leads to infection. The blockage can be due to:

In some cases, the cause may not be known.

What increases the risk?

This condition is more likely to develop in people who are 10–30 years of age.

What are the signs or symptoms?

Symptoms of this condition include:

How is this diagnosed?

This condition may be diagnosed with:

To confirm the diagnosis, an ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan may be done.

How is this treated?

This condition is usually treated by taking out the appendix (appendectomy). There are two methods for doing an appendectomy:

If the appendix has ruptured and an abscess has formed, a drain may be placed into the abscess to remove fluid and antibiotic medicines may be given through an IV tube. The appendix may or may not need to be removed.