European Paediatric Surgeons' Association Survey on the Management of Pediatric Appendicitis

Augusto Zani, Nigel J. Hall, Abidur Rahman, Francesco Morini, Alessio Pini Prato, Florian Friedmacher, Antti Koivusalo, Ernest van Heurn, Agostino Pierro

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Aim To define patterns in the management of pediatric appendicitis. Methods A total of 169 delegates from 42 (24 European) countries completed a validated survey administered at the EUPSA 2017 annual congress. Results In the work-up of children with suspected acute appendicitis, most surgeons rely on full blood count (92%), C-reactive protein (82%), and abdominal ultrasonography (76%), but rarely on computed tomography scans or magnetic resonance imaging. In suspected simple appendicitis, most surgeons (76%) do not perform appendectomy at night in clinically stable patients and start antibiotic preoperatively (64%), but only 15% offer antibiotic therapy alone (no appendectomy). In suspected perforated appendicitis, 96% start antibiotic preoperatively, and 92% perform an appendectomy. Presence of phlegmon/abscess is the main contraindication to immediate surgery. In case of appendix mass, most responders (75%) favor a conservative approach and perform interval appendectomy always (56%) or in selected cases (38%) between 2 and 6 months from the first episode (81%). Children with large intraperitoneal abscesses are managed by percutaneous drainage (59% responders) and by surgery (37% responders). Laparoscopy is the preferred surgical approach for both simple (89%) and perforated appendicitis (81%). Most surgeons send the appendix for histology (96%) and pus for microbiology, if present (78%). At the end of the operation, 58% irrigate the abdominal cavity only if contaminated using saline solution (93%). In selected cases, 52% leave a drain in situ. Conclusion Some aspects of appendicitis management lack consensus, particularly appendix mass and intraperitoneal abscess. Evidence-based guidelines should be developed, which may help standardize care and improve clinical outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-61
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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