A brand new study from Finland shows the choice of antibiotic a fair alternative for most patients with appendicitis. Five years after treatment with antibiotics, almost two-thirds of patients had not had another attack.
It is a substantial change in contemplating how to treat an inflamed appendix. For decades, appendicitis has been considered a medical emergency requiring immediate surgery to remove the appendix as a result of fears it may burst, which can be life-threatening.
But advances in imaging tests, mainly CT scans, have caused it to be easier to find out if an appendix might burst, or if patients might be safely treated without surgery. The results suggest that nearly two-thirds of appendicitis patients do not face that risk and may be good candidates for antibiotics instead.
Research has additionally shown antibiotics may benefit some children with appendicitis. The Finnish results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“It's a feasible, viable and a secure option,” said Dr Paulina Salminen, the study's lead author and a surgeon at Turku University Hospital in Finland. Appendix removal is the most typical emergency surgery worldwide, with about 300,000 performed annually in the United States alone, said Salminen. She said the results from her study suggest many of those surgeries might be avoided.
Dr Giana Davidson, a University of Washington surgeon, is associated with a similarly designed multicentre U.S. study that may answer whether similar benefits could be seen for antibiotics versus surgery. Davidson called the Finnish study “a critical piece to the puzzle but I do not think it answers all of the questions.”