• Vol. 33 No. 4, 530–531
  • 15 July 2004

Early Appendicitis – A Safe Diagnosis?

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: Serosal inflammation of the appendix in association with a significant peritoneal exudate can be mistaken for early acute appendicitis. We highlight the importance of looking for other sources of intra-abdominal sepsis in this clinical setting.

Clinical Picture: We present 3 cases of so-called ‘mild’ appendicitis with serosal inflammation that was ultimately shown to be caused by Meckel’s diverticulitis.

Treatment: All 3 patients initially underwent an appendicectomy. In 2 of these cases, a further laparotomy and excision of a Meckel’s diverticulum was carried out. All 3 made an uneventful recovery.

Conclusion: Meckel’s diverticulitis can mimic acute appendicitis in clinical history, physical findings and operative findings. It is important to always consider this as a possible cause for an acute abdomen.


Appendicitis is the most common surgical condition of the abdomen. At laparotomy, an inflamed appendix is removed once it is found, and further exploration of the peritoneal cavity is not advised.

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