Author(s): Brown CV, Abrishami M, Muller M, Velmahos GC
Conflicting evidence exists regarding the optimal treatment for abscess complicating acute appendicitis. The objective of this study is to compare immediate appendectomy (IMM APP) versus expectant management (EXP MAN) including percutaneous drainage with or without interval appendectomy to treat periappendiceal abscess. One hundred four patients with acute appendicitis complicated by periappendiceal abscess were identified. We compared 36 patients who underwent IMM APP with 68 patients who underwent EXP MAN. Outcome measures included morbidity and length of hospital stay. The groups were similar with regard to age (30.6 +/- 12.3 vs. 34.8 +/- 13.5 years), gender (61% vs. 62% males), admission WBC count (17.5 +/- 5.1 x 10(3) vs. 17.0 +/- 4.8 x 10(3) cells/dL), and admission temperature (37.9 +/- 1.2 vs. 37.8 +/- 0.9 degrees F). IMM APP patients had a higher rate of complications than EXP MAN patients at initial hospitalization (58% vs. 15%, P < 0.001) and for all hospitalizations (67% vs. 24%, P < 0.001). The IMM APP group also had a longer initial (14.8 +/- 16.1 vs. 9.0 +/- 4.8 days, P = 0.01) and overall hospital stay (15.3 +/- 16.2 vs. 10.7 +/- 5.4 days, P = 0.04). We conclude that percutaneous drainage and interval appendectomy is preferable to immediate appendectomy for treatment of appendiceal abscess because it leads to a lower complication rate and a shorter hospital stay.