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Revista Española de Enfermedades Digestivas

versión impresa ISSN 1130-0108

Rev. esp. enferm. dig. vol.102 no.8 Madrid ago. 2010




On time to veto the use of the word "appendagitis"?

¿On time para vetar el empleo del término apendagitis?



Key words: Epiploic appendage. Epiploitis. Appendagitis.

Palabras clave: Apéndice epiploico. Epiploítis. Apendagitis.



Dear Editor,

In a letter to the Editor in The Spanish Journal of Gastroenterology González et al. (1) explain the etymology of the word apendagitis in Spanish, derived from the English word appendage. They translate the word appendage in Spanish as hanging out, because of the epiploic appendages appearance. Nevertheless, the Spanish translation of this word in that of apéndice, which has not any reference to the meaning of hung. This word has not relation with gravity. In the Anglo-Saxon books of anatomy the term omental or eiploic appendages from the latin appendices epiploicae is employed.

I used to employ the term epiploitis in Spanish to describe the inflammation of those appendages, and the word apendagitis in Spanish sounds me harder. However this is the term employed by Spanish autors (2). Using the search term epiploitis in PubMed yields some articles which non-Anglo-Saxon authorship raised the suspicion of a direct translation. When appendagitis is used as the search term more articles appear with great Anglo-Saxon authors involved. On contrast, neither term appendagitis nor epiploitis belong to the Medical Subjet Heading Terms (MeSH). So, the correct form (at least by now in Spanish) is not decided. We call apendicitis in Spanish the cecal appendage inflammation. The inflammation of an epiploic or adipous appendage, terms employed in our classic books of anatomy, should be called apendicitis. Confusion will be created with the anterior disease, which has higher incidence and clinical importance. So we can add the adjective epiploica to avoid that ambiguity. French physicians employ their own semantics, why should not we do the same thing?

In the article by Gonzalez et al. (1) there is a point that I would like to raise. The authors list some risk factors to develope the inflammation such as obesity because of greater size of the appendages, the intense physical exercise because it increases their mobility, and plentiful meals because of splacnic thrombosis. The two formers are clearly opposites. Maybe they are not mutually exclusive but they increase the population at risk, a fact in contrast with the low incidence of this disease. There are not experimental studies and available data are based in descriptive studies. Actually, obesity has been ruled out as a risk factor in a recent review, despite that the epiploic appendage (3) size is directly connected with the weight of the subject (4). This size is not necessarily connected to the risk of developing inflammation. The twisting hypothesis will suggest that, but it will be difficult to find evidences to confirm this hypothesis. In the meanwhile, such assertions should not be laid down since evidence will be found.

From a semantic and etymology point of view the term apendagitis in Spanish seems not to be accurate to describe the epiploic appendage inflammation. We suggest the term epiploitis or apendicitis epiploica in Spanish, words with a soft phonetics, always under personal appraisal.


F. J. Morera Ocón
Service of General Surgery. Hospital General de Requena. Valencia, Spain



1. González Vega A, García Pérez I, Álvarez Álvarez D, Rizzo Ramos A, García Muñiz JL, Pérez Ricarte P. Apendagitis epiploica como etiología de dolor abdominal agudo. Rev Esp Enferm Dig 2008; 100(12): 800-1.        [ Links ]

2. Poves Prim I, Català Forteza J, Miquel Catà S, Pernas Canadell JC, Ballesta López C. Apendagitis epiploica primaria. Rev Clin Esp 2004; 204(1): 45-6.        [ Links ]

3. De Brito P, Gomez MA, Besson M, Scotto B, Huten N, Alison D. Fréquence et épidémiologie descriptive de l'appendicite épiploïque primitive par l'exploration tomodensitométrique des douleurs abdominales de l'adulte. J Radiol 2008; 89: 235-43.        [ Links ]

4. Testut L, Latarjet A. Tratado de Anatomía Humana, volumen IV. 9a ed. Barcelona: Editorial Salvat; 1951.        [ Links ]

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