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January 2007, Volume 37 Number 1 , p 64hn1 - 64hn3


  • Joan Della Rocca CRNP, CCRN, MSN


Minimizing the perils of appendicitis: Learn how to act quickly when this common and dangerous condition threatens your patient. [HOSPITAL nursing]

Rocca, Joan Della CRNP, CCRN, MSN

Joan Della Rocca is an adult nurse practitioner at HealthLink Medical Center in Southampton, Pa., and a clinical nursing instructor at Drexel University and Community College of Philadelphia, both in Philadelphia, Pa.

The most common acute condition leading to abdominal surgery, appendicitis can be difficult to pinpoint because signs and symptoms can vary widely and may occur with other disorders. In up to 20% of patients who undergo emergency appendectomy, pathologic examination of the tissue shows a normal appendix. 1 Yet misdiagnosed or untreated, appendicitis can be life-threatening.

Appendicitis is an acute inflammation of the appendix, a fingerlike organ attached to the cecum with no known function. Obstruction of the appendix lumen, most commonly by a hard fecal mass (fecalith), typically triggers the inflammation. (See Obstructed, inflamed ...

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