Is Appendicitis Hereditary

Appendicitis is caused by many reasons but heredity is considered as one of the major reasons of appendicitis. In this article, we will discuss about appendicitis and its connection to heredity.


Let us first know in brief what appendicitis is. Appendix develops as an underdeveloped distal end of the caecum. Caecum is a pouch, linking the ileum with the ascending colon of the large intestine. Appendix develops from the post arterial segment of the midgut. There are various structures of appendix like serosa, muscularis, mucosa, sub mucosa, mucosa and lumen. It is the most common cause of surgery which requires emergency laparotomy.

Appendectomy is the term given to the surgical procedure of removal of appendicitis. It is the most commonly executed emergency surgical course of action and accounts for 1-2 % of all surgical operations.

Causes of appendicitis

There are many factors, which can lead to appendicitis.


The commonest age of developing appendicitis is in 2nd and 3rd decades. It is rare in infancy and old age. The reason is that in infancy the lumen of the appendix is fairly large and in old age, the appendix often undergoes involution.


Males are affected more by appendicitis than females. Before puberty, M: F ratio of having appendicitis is 1:1 which changes to  2:1 after puberty up to 25 years.

Race and Diet

The disease is common in highly civilized countries and certain communities but rare in remote rural districts and among primitive people. The severe gangrenous type of appendicitis is confined to meat-eating people. But this cannot be the whole explanation because acute appendicitis occurs even in life-long vegetarians. Denis P Burkitt, after extensive research concluded that undue refining of dietary carbohydrate is the most important causative factor.

Hereditary factors

The hereditary factors are one of the important factors considered to be a cause of appendicitis.

Family history

In a study, it has been found that children whose both the parents are affected by appendicitis have 40% chances of developing appendicitis in their childhood. Children with only one of the parent affected by the ailment have 20% chances of developing appendicitis. This study was done on a large scale in Japanese families. The factors that can affect the incidence of appendicitis in families are food habits, specific bacterial infection, and genetic difference in resistance to bacterial infection. In a study by Gauderer et al, it is suggested that children who have appendicitis are twice as likely to have a positive family history that those who have right lower quadrant pain but no appendicitis.

Family history can also be one of the reasons in deciding the position of appendicitis, which can develop in an ailment later.


Studies in twins are one of the important parts of the genetic studies. There are some interesting studies regarding twins and appendicitis to know if there is any link. But no any evidence has been found till date.


Genetic factors have been implicated in the etiology of acute appendicitis. Basta et al demonstrated a familial aggregation and polygenic transmission pattern in a retrospective analysis of families of 80 patients with appendicitis when compared to families of matched controls. The studies showed that the chances of developing appendicitis in a child with any close relative with reported removal of appendicitis was 10% more. The percentages of degree of chances of having appendicitis differ from relation to relation. They are 21% in first degree relatives, 12% in second degree relatives and 7% in third degree relatives.

No evident study or research has been done to claim the fact that appendicitis is hereditary. There are many factors that are the cause of appendicitis. There are many controversies regarding the subject. In this article, we have tried to provide the data that has been reported. We do not take any responsibility for the authenticity of it.

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