Researchers at the National Yang Ming University, Taipei, claim that people with schizophrenia, a mental illness, are three times more likely to suffer from ruptured appendix than people without the disorder.
The researchers looked specifically at appendicitis patients, with and without mental illnesses, including schizophrenia.
According to Jen-Huoy Tsay and colleagues at the university, most studies for patients with mental illnesses focus on psychological problems but often ignore physical diseases.
The researchers used the Taiwanese National Health Insurance (NHI) hospital-discharge data and compared the probability of a ruptured appendix in almost 100,000 people aged 15 and over who were hospitalised for acute appendicitis in Taiwan during the period 1997-2001.
They found that a ruptured appendix occurred in 46.7 percent of the schizophrenic patients, in 43.4 percent of the patients with other major mental disorders and in 25.1 percent of the patients with no major mental diseases.
More ruptured cases were found among males and older patients, reported the health portal News Medical.
After adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background, and hospital characteristics, the team found that patients with schizophrenia were still almost three times as likely to suffer a ruptured appendix as the general population.