Author(s): Janik JS, Ein SH, Shandling B, Simpson JS, Stephens CA
Thirty-seven late presenting children with appendiceal mass were treated between 1965 and 1975 with i.v. fluids, alimentation according to the state of gastrointestinal function, and no antibiotics. They ranged in age from 18 mo to 16 yr and all had had symptoms for at least 5 days (mean 8.7), an abnormal WBC (mean 19.9), and a fixed palpable mass without rebound tenderness. Children were discharged when clinical findings resolved. All returned for interval appendectomy. Eighty-one percent (31 children) had clinical improvement within 5-22 days (mean 10.9). Nineteen percent (7 children) had recurrence or worsening of symptoms and required abscess drainage within 2-10 days after observation began. No child in either group received antibiotics nor did any die. Only one recurrence of symptoms after discharge was recorded before interval appendectomy. Pathologic specimens revealed fibrosis in 46%, subacute inflammation in 35%, and acute inflammation in 19%. Nonoperative management of the appendiceal mass without antibiotics in children is safe as long as diligent observation is maintained. Interval appendectomy can be performed as late as 20 wk after symptom resolution or drainage, however, over 50% of the interval appendectomy specimens reveal acute and subacute inflammation.