Misdiagnosis of Acute Appendicitis
Misdiagnosis of Acute Appendicitis
A diagnosis of acute appendicitis can be delayed or missed because symptoms do not always include the classic symptom of right lower abdominal pain. Symptoms of acute appendicitis are also typical of many other diseases, disorders and conditions. These include chronic appendicitis, gastroenteritis, kidney stone, constipation, pelvic inflammatory disease, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, colitis, and food poisoning. Other diseases, disorders and conditions that have similar symptoms include acute abdomen, ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis, diverticulitis and pyelonephritis....more about Acute Appendicitis »
Alternative diagnoses list for Acute Appendicitis:
For a diagnosis of Acute Appendicitis,
the following list of conditions
have been mentioned in sources
as possible alternative diagnoses
to consider during the diagnostic process for Acute Appendicitis:
Diseases for which Acute Appendicitis may be an alternative diagnosis
The other diseases for which Acute Appendicitis
is listed as a possible alternative
diagnosis in their lists include:
Acute Appendicitis: Undiagnosed Conditions
Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:
Discussion of diagnosis/misdiagnosis of Acute Appendicitis:
Some people have pain when gas is present in the intestine. When pain
is on the left side of the colon, it can be confused with heart disease.
When the pain is on the right side of the colon, it may mimic gallstones
or appendicitis. (Source: excerpt from Gas in the Digestive Tract: NIDDK)
Common Misdiagnoses and Acute Appendicitis
Mild worm infections undiagnosed in children: Human worm infestations, esp. threadworm, can be overlooked in some cases,
because it may cause only mild or even absent symptoms.
Although the most common symptoms are anal itch (or vaginal itch),
which are obvious in severe cases,
milder conditions may fail to be noticed in children.
In particular, it may interfere with the child's good night's sleep.
Threadworm is a condition to consider in children with symptoms such as bedwetting (enuresis),
difficulty sleeping, irritability, or other sleeping symptoms.
Visual inspection of the region can often see the threadworms, at night when they are active,
but they can also be missed this way, and multiple inspections can be warranted if worms are suspected.
See the introduction to threadworm.
Undiagnosed acute appendicitis deadly in children: It is a sad reality that a child with acute appendicitis
has a high likelihood of misdiagnosis.
This misdiagnosis is a well-known cause of death, and indeed of malpractice lawsuits, in the medical industry.
That it is often overlooks is somewhat understandable.
Compared to other causes of abdominal pain, it is less common than simple explanations like gastroenteritis
or food poisoning.
The hallmark symptom of appendicitis, abominal pain located right at the navel, is also the way that
young children report almost any type of abdominal discomfort.
See the introduction to appendicitis and misdiagnosis of appendicitis.
Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms
of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that may be misdiagnosed.
The best known, irritable bowel syndrome, is over-diagnosed, whereas other
causes that are less known may be overlooked or misdiagnosed: celiac disease,
Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis (both are called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)),
diabetic gastroparesis, diabetic diarrhea.
Other possibilities include giardia, colon cancer, or other chronic infections.
Intestinal bacteria disorder may be hidden cause: One of the lesser known causes of diarrhea
is an imbalance of bacterial in the gut, sometimes called intestinal imbalance.
The digestive system contains a variety of "good" bacteria that aid digestion,
and they can decline for various reasons,
leading to digestive symptoms such as diarrhea.
The main treatment is to eat foods containing probiotics, typically yoghurt cultures.
See intestinal imbalance and probiotics.
Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely
to cause some level of diarrhea in patients.
The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria,
but can also kill the "good" bacteria in the gut.
This leads to "digestive imbalance" where there are too few remaining "good"
bacteria in the digestive system.
The treatment is typically to use "probiotics", such as by eating yoghurt cultures
containing more of the good bacteria.
See digestive imbalance and probiotics.
Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down
with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. food poisoning).
In fact, it's more likely to be an infectious diarrheal illness (i.e. infectious diarrhea), that has been caught
from another person.
Such conditions may be transmitted via the fecal-oral route.
Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the
more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed
(it can, of course, also fail to be diagnosed with fatal effect).
One of the most common misdiagnosed is for children with mesenteric adenitis
to be misdiagnosed as appendicitis.
Fortunately, thus misdiagnosis is usually less serious than the reverse failure to diagnose appendicitis.
Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue
with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure.
The "cuff" around the arm to measure blood pressure can simply be too small to accurately
test a child's blood pressure.
This can lead to an incorrect diagnosis of a child with hypertension.
The problem even has a name unofficially: "small cuff syndrome".
See misdiagnosis of hypertension.
Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive
conditions is celiac disease, a malabsorption disorder with a variety of symptoms (see symptoms of
celiac disease). A variety of other chronic digestive disorders tend to be diagnosed
rather than this condition.
See introduction to celiac disease or misdiagnosis of celiac disease.
Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be
correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients.
These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, but migraines can also occur in children.
See misdiagnosis of migraine or introduction to migraine.
Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent
difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases.
Some of the better known possibilities are peptic ulcer, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, or GERD.
Other sometimes overlooked possibilities include Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, chronic appendicitis,
Celiac disease, Carcinoid syndrome, gastroparesis, and others. See all types of chronic digestive diseases.
Acute Appendicitis: Rare Types
Rare types of medical disorders and diseases in related medical areas:
Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of Acute Appendicitis:
The following medical news items
are relevant to misdiagnosis of Acute Appendicitis:
Misdiagnosis and Acute Appendicitis deaths
Acute Appendicitis is a condition
that can possibly be deadly if misdiagnosed...more »
General Misdiagnosis Articles
Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.
When checking for a misdiagnosis of Acute Appendicitis
or confirming a diagnosis of Acute Appendicitis,
it is useful to consider what other
medical conditions might be possible misdiagnoses or other alternative
conditions relevant to diagnosis.
These alternate diagnoses of Acute Appendicitis may already have
been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible
alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of Acute Appendicitis.
For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases,
see Overview of Misdiagnosis.