Antibiotics may replace surgery to treat appendicitis

A new study shows that antibiotics could be an appropriate treatment in children with acute appendicitis.
By Amy Wallace   |   Updated Feb. 17, 2017 at 10:41 AM

Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Researchers at the University of Southampton in England have found that antibiotics can replace surgery in children with non-complicated appendicitis.

The appendix, a small organ attached to the large intestine, can become infected or blocked leading to inflammation known as appendicitis. The condition is common in children and teens and usually treated through an operation to remove the appendix.

A new review of 10 previous studies of 413 children over the past 10 years who received non-operative treatment for appendicitis has found no reported safety concerns or adverse events related to non-surgical treatment. However, the recurrence rate of appendicitis was 14 percent in patients who received antibiotic treatment instead of surgery.

"Acute appendicitis is one of the most common general surgical emergencies worldwide and surgery has long been the gold standard of treatment," Nigel Hall, associate professor of pediatric surgery at the University of Southampton and author of the study, said in a press release.

"But it is invasive and costly, not to mention extremely daunting for the child concerned and their family. Our review shows that antibiotics could be an alternative treatment method for children. When we compared the adult literature to the data in our review it suggested that antibiotic treatment of acute appendicitis is at least as effective in children as in adults."

Hall and his team collaborated with researchers from St. George's Hospital, Adler Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool and Great Ormond Street Hospital on further studies of antibiotic treatment in children with appendicitis.

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

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