In recent years it has become customary to begin articles on acute appendicitis with an apology. Since appendicitis is still the most common acute abdominal lesion, and since its etiology is unknown and its mortality rate is higher than it was fifteen years ago, it would seem that it is still worthy of thoughtful consideration. The mortality of appendicitis in the United States now averages over 20,000 a year. In a majority of these deaths the patients had been in the early decades of life with a good life expectancy.
In 1930, one of us1 made a study of the patients with acute appendicitis treated in the University Hospital during a period of about four years. It was then our practice to perform an appendectomy as soon as the diagnosis of acute appendicitis was made without regard for the stage of the disease. As a result of that study,