Early studies suggested that presentations with unexplained acute abdominal pain were associated with increased long-term rates of hospital attendance and self-harm, especially in women, but few studies were large enough for definitive findings.
To test the hypothesis that such presentations are followed by higher long-term utilisation rates of secondary health care even excluding further abdominal symptoms, and particularly for self-harm, than presentations with acute appendicitis.
New hospital attendance rates, liaison psychiatry attendances and self-harm attendances of patients with normal appendices at emergency appendicectomy were compared with those of appendicitis patients.
Attendance rates of all kinds were significantly higher for normal appendix patients than for appendicitis patients, with equal strengths of finding for males and females.
People with normal appendices at emergency appendicectomy show higher long-term rates of hospital attendance. This has implications for how these patients are best managed by health care systems.