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J Am Coll Surg. 2003 Feb;196(2):212-21.

Current practice patterns in the treatment of perforated appendicitis in children.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



The treatment of perforated appendicitis in children often involves a combination of surgical and medical therapy. The aim of this study was to document the degree of consensus in the current management of perforated appendicitis in children.


A survey was sent to all practicing pediatric surgeons in North America in April 2000 who were members of the American Pediatric Surgical Association for 1999-2000. Survey questions pertained to preoperative, perioperative, and postoperative practice patterns, particularly those issues related to use of antibiotic therapy.


Among eligible surgeons, 80.2% completed the survey. Although more than 80% of respondents practiced in an academic setting, only 17% of surgeons used a formal clinical practice guideline to direct care. Responses varied substantially in the duration of postoperative antibiotic therapy, the use of intravenous or oral agents or both, and the duration of hospitalization. A considerable number of patients are receiving a portion of their intravenous antibiotic therapy as outpatients.


There is little apparent consensus in the many aspects of perioperative and postoperative care of perforated appendicitis in children across North America. Only a fraction of surgeons currently uses a formal clinical practice guideline for treatment of perforated appendicitis, although increased pressures to develop more cost-effective therapeutic strategies can encourage development of additional guidelines. Definitive evidence to inform development of such guidelines and enhance consensus is lacking. Further studies are needed across institutions to better inform clinical decisions in light of a changing practice environment and treatment alternatives.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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