Appendicitis near its centenary

Ann Surg. 1984 Nov;200(5):567-75. doi: 10.1097/00000658-198411000-00002.


In an analysis of the first 72 cases treated after the formulation of the appendicitis syndrome in 1886 compared with the experience from 1929-1959 and with 307 randomly selected recent cases, the major therapeutic trend has been an emphasis on appendectomy before perforation and abscess formation occur. The rate of infection nonetheless remains approximately 17%. Although the overall mortality rate has declined from 26% overall (40% for surgery) to 0.8%, the current rate of perforation is 28%, with a diagnostic accuracy of 82%. Among 13,848 patients from several reports the perforation rate increases linearly with diagnostic accuracy; therefore, a balance must be sought. Delay awaiting a diagnosis is a major determinant of perforation, but diagnostic aids are of limited help. Clinical acuity and prudent decisiveness are the keys to proper action.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Appendectomy
  • Appendicitis / diagnosis
  • Appendicitis / epidemiology
  • Appendicitis / history*
  • Appendicitis / surgery
  • Demography
  • Drainage
  • Female
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Perforation / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Perforation / surgery
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Seasons
  • Surgical Wound Infection / drug therapy


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents