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Belly pain, fever could be sign of ruptured appendicitis in kids, warns UAE doctor

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on June 13, 2020


Five-year-old Emirati girl had to undergo a complicated surgery for perforated appendicitis.

Do not delay in taking your child to a hospital in case he or she complains of abdomen pain accompanied by fever and vomiting. It could be a case of perforated appendicitis, which if delayed can be fatal, doctors have urged.

A five-year-old Emirati girl had to undergo a complicated surgery for perforated appendicitis after her parents mistook symptoms of appendicitis for a stomach infection.

Ghaya Hussein had been complaining of stomach ache for a week, which was accompanied by fever.Her father Hussein Mussa told Khaleej Times: "We started giving her medication for fever and mistook her stomach ache as digestive issues. However, when the fever didn't go down and she repeatedly said she had stomach ache, we decided to take her to the hospital and it was found she had perforated appendicitis with collection of pus (abscess). I realise that I shouldn't have ignored her complaints of stomach pain. And I am glad the hospital staff quickly treated the issue and did the surgery in time."

Dr Wissam Altamr, paediatric surgeon at Al Zahra Hospital, Sharjah, said: "The child was admitted to the hospital on June 1 with high fever, vomiting, cough and abdominal pain. After clinical examination, the blood investigations conducted showed high markers of inflammation. The abdomen ultrasound showed perforated appendicitis. This usually happens when there is a delay in bringing the patient to the hospital and from an infection of the appendix it becomes a hole that allows the infection to spread to the rest of the abdomen. This is called a "perforated" or "ruptured" appendicitis."

He said that usually the treatment of appendicitis can be done in just a day and the patient can be discharged from the hospital in a day or two. However, in this case since there was a delay in getting the girl to the hospital, it led to perforated appendicitis and collection of abscess which led to complications. So, the child had to stay in the hospital for 10 days and take antibiotics through IV throughout.

Urging parents to not ignore symptoms such as fever or recurring complains of stomach ache by the child, Dr Wissam said: "It is difficult to identify appendicitis in young children under eight years, therefore parents must be very attentive to how and what the child feels as the child is not able to articulate his feelings well. Perforated appendicitis if ignored can lead to abscess and then to sepsis in the entire body that can also lead to death. Therefore, do not ignore symptoms like fever and abdominal pain and consult a doctor in time."

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