Inflammation of the Appendix vermiformis of the blind gut and of the peritoneum and tissues in its neighbourhood.
The symptoms of it are pain in the abdomen low down on the right side. There is rigidity of the abdominal wall of the region and tenderness most marked at a point midway between the pubic bone and the crest of the ilium or hipbone. It arises from many causes, sometimes, but by no means most frequently, from foreign bodies lodging in the appendix. It may run a slow course or an acute course. There is always some fever, and when the fever is high and symptoms of abscess appear, operation will be called for. But the great majority of cases are curable by medicines.
Diagnosis.-The locality of the trouble will prevent appendicitis being mistaken for general peritonitis or inflammation of the bowels. The febrile symptoms and the rigidity of the abdominal wall will distinguish it from colic. In females, inflammation of the right ovary and its attachments, or inflammation of the tissues around the womb may be mistaken for appendicitis, but there will in these cases be a history of womb troubles which will prevent confusion.
General Treatment.-When there is any rise of temperature associated with abdominal pain the patient must be kept in bed. Only light diet-no meat, fish, or poultry-must be given.
Beef-tea, gruel, barley-water, milk or milk and soda-water are the best. The painful part should be painted with glycerol of Belladonna, (equal parts of glycerine and Belladonna 0) and hot compresses applied frequently in addition. These must not be covered with oil-silk but allowed to dry. Another valuable application is hot lime-water compresses.
Medicines.-(Every hour till symptoms are relieved, then less often.)
Bellad. 3. Acute pain and tenderness, fever, flushed face.
Cutting and tearing pain right side of abdomen, distention, sensitiveness, irritability.
Burning pains, anguish, restlessness, prostration, fever, thirst.
Great sensitiveness, hectic fever, and symptoms of threatening suppuration.