View Table of Contents
- Appendicitis facts
- What is the appendix?
- What is appendicitis and what causes appendicitis?
- What are the complications of appendicitis?
- What are the symptoms of appendicitis?
- How is appendicitis diagnosed?
- How is appendicitis diagnosed? (Part 2)
- How is appendicitis diagnosed? (Part 3)
- Why can it be difficult to diagnose appendicitis?
- What other conditions can mimic appendicitis?
- What is stump appendicitis?
- How is appendicitis treated?
- How is an appendectomy done?
- What are the complications of appendectomy?
- Are there long-term consequences of appendectomy? What is new about appendicitis?
How is appendicitis diagnosed? (Part 2)
Urinalysis is a microscopic examination of the urine that detects red blood cells, white blood cells and bacteria in the urine. Urinalysis usually is abnormal when there is inflammation or stones in the kidneys or bladder. The urinalysis also may be abnormal with appendicitis because the appendix lies near the ureter and bladder. If the inflammation of appendicitis is great enough, it can spread to the ureter and bladder leading to an abnormal urinalysis. Most patients with appendicitis, however, have a normal urinalysis. Therefore, a normal urinalysis suggests appendicitis more than a urinary tract problem.
An abdominal x-ray may detect the fecalith (the hardened and calcified, pea-sized piece of stool that blocks the appendiceal opening) that may be the cause of appendicitis. This is especially true in children.
An ultrasound is a painless procedure that uses sound waves to provide images of identify organs within the body. Ultrasound can identify an enlarged appendix or an abscess. Nevertheless, during appendicitis, the appendix can be seen in only 50% of patients. Therefore, not seeing the appendix during an ultrasound does not exclude appendicitis. Ultrasound also is helpful in women because it can exclude the presence of conditions involving the ovaries, Fallopian tubes and uterus that can mimic appendicitis.