Warmer temperatures mean more cases of appendicitis, regardless of season

December 08, 2022

1 min read

The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

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Researchers have reported a link between increased incidence of appendicitis and warmer weather, independent of other environmental and behavioral factors, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

“One of the most commonly observed environmental risk factors is the seasonal pattern in several countries, wherein the incidence of acute appendicitis increases during the summer months,” Jacob E. Simmering, PhD, an assistant professor of pulmonary, critical care and occupational medicine at University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, and colleagues wrote.


Simmering JE, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;doi:10.1001.jamanetworkopen.2022.34269.

According to researchers, who performed this study to understand whether a link exists between the incidence of appendicitis and local temperature patterns, there is a 7% to 8% risk for acute appendicitis worldwide.

Concentrating on cases in the U.S., Simmering and colleagues used claims data from the MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database and the Medicare Supplemental and Coordination of Benefits Database from 2001 to 2017 to identify cases of appendicitis. They gathered local weather data from the Integrated Surface Database, a resource provided by the National Centers for Environmental Information.

The primary outcome of interest was the daily number of appendicitis cases in a city, grouped by age and sex.

Over the 17-year period, researchers identified 689,917 patients (mean age, 35 years; 50.4% men) with appendicitis. In areas with a temperature 10.56C or lower, they reported a 1.3% increase in appendicitis incidence per 5.56C temperature increase and a 2.9% increase in areas with temperatures higher than 10.56C.

“Most previous research has shown an increase in acute appendicitis during summer month, but it has been difficult to separate warmer weather from other season exposures (eg, gastrointestinal infections) or potential seasonal behavioral changes (eg, changes in diet),” Simmering and colleagues wrote. “By examining a large geographic area (ie, entire continental U.S.) for a period of 17 years, however, we were able to demonstrate not only the seasonality and an association between appendicitis incidence and weather but also the association of deviations from expected temperature with increased risk for acute appendicitis.”

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