ACUTE appendicitis, a common abdominal emergency in childhood, is less frequently encountered in the infant.1-4 Less than 2% of all children treated for appendicitis are under 2 years of age.3 Because the diagnosis is frequently difficult to make, treatment is delayed, complications develop, and subsequent management becomes more involved.
The importance of radiographic search for pneumonia as a cause of abdominal pain has been well emphasized in the pediatric literature. However, little has been written concerning the value of abdominal radiographs in the infant with appendicitis.5 We believe too little is expected of such an examination and that radiography can be of considerable value in establishing the diagnosis of acute appendicitis in infants.
At the Children's Hospital Medical Center, Boston, in a period from 1953 to 1968, 41 infants under 2 years of age underwent appendectomy for acute appendicitis. These infants ranged from 7 days to