Antibiotics-first strategy for uncomplicated acute appendicitis in adults: A systematic review with meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials LINK

BACKGROUND:

Acute appendicitis is the most common surgical diagnosis in young patients, with lifetime prevalence of about 7%. Debate remains on whether uncomplicated AA should be operated or not. Aim of this meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials was to assess current evidence on antibiotic treatment for uncomplicated AA compared to standard surgical treatment.

METHODS:

Systematic literature search was performed using PubMed, EMBASE, Medline, Google Scholar and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases for randomized controlled trials comparing antibiotic therapy (AT) and surgical therapy-appendectomy (ST) for uncomplicated AA. Trials were reviewed for primary outcome measures: treatment efficacy based on 1 year follow-up, recurrence at 1 year follow-up, complicated appendicitis with peritonitis identified at the time of surgical operation and post-intervention complications. Secondary outcomes were length of hospital stay and period of sick leave.

RESULTS:

Five RCTs comparing AT and ST qualified for inclusion in meta-analysis, with 1.351 patients included: 632 in AT group and 719 in ST group. Higher rate of treatment efficacy based on 1 year follow-up was found in ST group (98.3% vs 75.9%, P < 0.0001), recurrence at 1 year was reported in 22.5% of patients treated with antibiotics. Rate of complicated appendicitis with peritonitis identified at time of surgical operation was higher in AT group (19.9% vs 8.5%, P = 0.02). No statistically significant differences were found when comparing AT and ST groups for the outcomes of overall post-intervention complications (4.3% vs 10.9%, P = 0.32), post-intervention complications based on the number of patients who underwent appendectomy (15.8% vs 10.9%, P = 0.35), length of hospital stay (3.24 ± 0.40 vs 2.88 ± 0.39, P = 0.13) and period of sick leave (8.91 ± 1.28 vs 10.27 ± 0.24, P = 0.06).

CONCLUSIONS:

With significantly higher efficacy and low complication rates, appendectomy remains the most effective treatment for patients with uncomplicated AA. The subgroups of patients with uncomplicated AA where antibiotics can be more effective, should be accurately identified.

With significantly higher efficacy and low complication rates, appendectomy remains the most effective treatment for patients with uncomplicated AA. The subgroups of patients with uncomplicated AA where antibiotics can be more effective, should be accurately identified.

 

Antibiotics for uncomplicated acute appendicectomy

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