Outcomes after appendectomy in children with acute appendicitis treated at a tertiary paediatric centre: results from a retrospective cohort study

Max Knaapen*, Paul van Amstel, Tim van Amstel, Sarah May M.L. The, Roel Bakx, Ernest L.W.E. van Heurn, Ramon R. Gorter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: In general, an appendectomy is presumed to have a limited burden of disease. However, in current literature, reported complication rates vary. This study aims to provide additional insights in the incidence of post-appendectomy complications in children with acute appendicitis. Methods: This retrospective cohort study included children (0–17 years old) that underwent appendectomy at our tertiary referral centre for suspected acute appendicitis (January 2011–December 2018). Children referred to our centre, and those that underwent non-operative treatment were excluded. Post-appendectomy complications were recorded from electronic medical charts using predefined definitions and classified as severe (Clavien-Dindo III–IV) or less severe (Clavien-Dindo I–II). Results: A total of 131 children were included. Simple and complex appendicitis was diagnosed in 66 (50%) and 60 (46%) children, respectively. A non-inflamed appendix was seen in five (4%) children. One or more complications were identified in 33 (25%) patients. Eight (12%) children with simple appendicitis developed a complication, three of these were severe. In children with complex appendicitis, 23 (38%) children developed a complication, 14 of these were severe. Conclusion: This study shows a high rate of complications compared with current literature, both in children with simple and complex appendicitis. This is probably the result of our definition of complications and being a tertiary referral centre receiving more severe appendicitis cases. However, these results still show that appendectomy is not always a routine procedure with only few complications. Substantiating the need to keep optimizing treatment for children with appendicitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-169
Number of pages7
JournalLangenbeck's Archives of Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

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