Chronic and recurrent appendicitis are uncommon entities often misdiagnosed

P. Mattei, J. E. Sola, C. J. Yeo

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61 Scopus citations


Those having chronic and recurrent appendicitis represent a small portion of patients with disorders of the appendix. We present a series of nine patients who underwent appendectomy for chronic or recurrent appendicitis at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, between July 1984 and October 1992. There were seven women and two men (median age of 30 years, range of 15 to 63 years). All patients presented with pain in the right lower quadrant or lower abdomen of three or more weeks duration (mean of 16.0 ± 8.4 months, range of three weeks to seven years), had no alternative diagnosis to account for the symptoms, had pathologic evidence of chronic inflammation or fibrosis of the appendix and had complete relief of the symptoms after appendectomy. Although the patients presented herein had clinical and pathologic evidence for recurrent or chronic appendicitis, careful review of the course of each patient before surgical referral revealed at least one episode of acute pain in the abdomen consistent with acute appendicitis managed by nonoperative means. This suggests that, while recurrent acute appendicitis and chronic appendicitis do occur, they can be avoided by the accurate diagnosis and operative management of acute appendicitis. We conclude that acute appendicitis can resolve spontaneously and recur repeatedly in the same individual in the evaluation of a patient with abdominal pain, a history of prior similar episodes of pain should never dissuade one from considering the diagnosis of acute appendicitis, and recurrent acute appendicitis and chronic appendicitis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of recurrent pain in the lower abdomen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-389
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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