Bowel movement patterns in children with acute appendicitis

Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal 01/2007;
Source: DOAJ

ABSTRACT Background: Acute appendicitis is currently one of the most important causes of acute abdominal peritonitis and emergency laparatomy. Despite its low mortality, it remains a cause of concern for surgeons due to the postoperative complications of wound infection, sepsis, intrabdominal abscess and even bowel obstruction resulting from adhesions. High incidence of acute appendicitis provides a strong impetus for further studies. This studywas conducted to determine the bowel movement patterns and dietary fiber consumption in pediatric patients with appendicitis in Shiraz, southern Iran.Methods: The study included 202 pediatric patients under the age of 18 years at Nemazee Hospital affiliated to Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, who had undergone appendectomy with the preoperative diagnosis of acute appendicitis from March 2003to March 2004. Using a written semi-standard questionnaire, the variables recorded were age, gender, stool consistency, number of bowel movements, type of bread consumed, habit of fruit andvegetable consumption, clinical presentation (signs and symptoms) and the time taken from the onset of symptoms to arrival in hospital, the date of patients admission to theemergency room to the time of surgery, and the duration of postoperative hospitalization. The pathology of appendicitis was clarified and recorded.Results: The patients aged from 3–18 years (mean: 11.2±3.6 years), with a male to female ratio of 2:4. Anorexia was the most common symptom, affecting 78.7% of patients. Of 31 patients with constipation, 58% did not report daily regular intake of fruits while the others had regular fruit intake. Only 3 patients (9.7%) had regular daily consumption of vegetables, and 27 patients (87.1%) had pathology reports of fecalith, while in the nonconstipatedpatients, only 1.2% had such reports. The abdominal pain was periumbilical in many patients (42.6%), which shifted to McBurny point in most (96%) patients. 134 patients (66.3%) visited a health center within 24 hours after the first symptoms. Surgerieswere performed on 132 patients (65.3%) within 6 hours, on 67 patients (33%) within 6–12 hours, and on 3 patients (2%) in more than 12 hours.Conclusion: Our findings suggest a high rate of constipation in patients with lower fiber intake, which is consistent with the hypothesis indicating the role of dietary fibers in loweringthe incidence of appendicitis.

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