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May 1959

Is Appendicitis Decreasing in Frequency?

Author Affiliations

Salt Lake City; Chicago; St. Louis

AMA Arch Surg. 1959;78(5):794-801. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1959.04320050125019

For some time it has been known that the death rate from appendicitis has been decreasing. This decrease can be shown both at the local and at the national level, and is generally attributed to such factors as better surgery, the use of sulfonamides and antibiotics, a better understanding of fluid and electrolyte balance, improved anesthesia, the use of intestinal tubes, better diagnosis, and better education of the public regarding the disease, its early symptoms, thehe of laxatives, etc.

The National Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare1 reports that the death rate for appendicitis in this country dropped from 8.1 per 100,000 population in 1941 (10,789 deaths) to 1.3 per 100,000 in 1956 (2,103 deaths). Age-adjusted death rates for appendicitis among industrial policyholders of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company dropped from 9.6 per 100,000 in 1939-1940 to 4.9 in 1944-1945, and 1.9 in