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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 27 January 2009

Dr Mark Porter examines the diagnosis and treatment of appendicitis and talks to doctors to discover how they decide when it is time to remove the appendix. The appendix can cause a serious medical emergency - peritonitis - if it ruptures, and surgery to remove it is one of the commonest procedures in UK hospitals. But deciding when the organ needs to be taken out is not easy. The symptoms of appendicitis can be similar to other conditions such as urinary tract infections and gastroenteritis. Mark talks to doctors about how they diagnosis appendicitis, sometimes including using scanning, and then how they decide to go ahead and operate. He also discovers how it is particularly difficult to detect the condition in young children, and asks if a high fibre diet can prevent appendicitis.


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