Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Surg Res. 2012 Sep;177(1):123-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2012.03.010. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

Gangrenous appendicitis in children: a prospective evaluation of definition, bacteriology, histopathology, and outcomes.

Author information

  • 1Division of Pediatric General Surgery, Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



The definition and treatment of gangrenous appendicitis are not agreed upon. We performed a prospective study in children to evaluate an objective definition of gangrenous appendicitis, as well as associated bacteriology, histopathology, and outcomes.


Five staff pediatric surgeons prospectively enrolled patients in the study at the time of appendectomy if the following five criteria were met: gray or black discoloration of the appendiceal wall; absence of fecalith outside the appendix; absence of visible hole in the appendix; absence of gross purulence or fibrinous exudate remote from the appendix; and absence of intraoperative appendiceal leak. Peritoneal fluid was cultured, and a standard histopathologic review was undertaken. Persistence of fever (>37.5°C) and ileus was documented daily. Patients were continued postoperatively on ampicillin, gentamicin, and metronidazole until they tolerated diet, manifested a 24-h afebrile period, and had a normal leukocyte count. Hospital stay, readmissions, and infectious complications were recorded. The study took place over a 12-mo period.


Thirty-eight patients were enrolled, representing 17% of all patients with appendicitis treated during the year. Average age was 10.8 ± 3.5 y. Peritoneal cultures were positive in 53% of cases. Gangrene was documented histologically in 61% of specimens. Hospital stay was 3.2 ± 1.1 d. There were no postoperative infectious complications or readmissions related to the disease. Neither culture results nor histologic gangrene had a statistically significant effect on hospital stay.


An objective definition of gangrenous appendicitis is reproducible and has good histopathologic association. Recovery from gangrenous appendicitis is not influenced by culture or pathology results, and postoperative complications are rare. Limiting postoperative antibiotics to 24 h in gangrenous appendicitis may significantly decrease the cost of treatment without increasing morbidity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center