Purpose: A laparoscopic approach for emergency appendectomy is increasingly used, in pediatric patients as well. The objective of this study is to audit the current state of diagnostic work-up, surgical techniques and its outcome in children with acute appendicitis. Methods: A prospective consecutive observational cohort study was carried out in a 2-month study period. All patients under 18 years that were operated for suspected acute appendicitis were included. Primary outcome was the infectious complication rate after open and laparoscopic approach; secondary outcomes were preoperative use of imaging and post-operative predictive value of imaging, normal appendix rate and children with a postoperative ileus. Results: A total of 541 children were operated for suspected acute appendicitis in 62 Dutch hospitals. Preoperative imaging was used in 98.9% of children. The normal appendix rate was 3.1%. In 523 children an appendectomy was performed. Laparoscopy was used in 61% of the patients and conversion rate was 1.7%. Complicated appendicitis was diagnosed in 29.4% of children. Overall 30-day complication rate was 11.9% and similar after open and laparoscopic. No difference was found in superficial surgical site infections, nor in intra-abdominal abscesses between the open and laparoscopic approach. Complicated appendicitis is an independent risk factor for infectious complications. Conclusion: The laparoscopic approach is most frequently used, except for young children. Superficial surgical site infections are more frequent after open surgery only in patients with complicated appendicitis. The normal appendix rate is low, most likely because of routine preoperative imaging.
On behalf of the Snapshot Appendicitis Collaborative Study group (2018). Imaging in pediatric appendicitis is key to a low normal appendix percentage: a national audit on the outcome of appendectomy for appendicitis in children. Pediatric Surgery International, 34(5), 543-551. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00383-018-4244-2