There is some reprieve for children who suffer from appendicitis; a new study reveals that one may not have to undergo surgery as antibiotics may be an equally effective alternative in some cases.
A new research from researchers at the University of Southampton reveals that instead of surgery, antibiotics are possibly an effective method for countering acute non-complicated appendicitis in children.
For the unfamiliar, appendicitis is a condition in which the appendix becomes swollen because of an infection or blockage. It is mainly observed in children and teenagers.
The ailment is currently countered via surgery or appendectomy, suggesting that the surgical removal of the appendix is the normal course of action. Appendectomy is considered to be the most common emergency surgery for children.
However, the latest study suggests that it is possible to treat children with acute non-complicated appendicitis with antibiotics, negating the need of a surgery.
Studies Supporting The Use Of Antibiotics
Surgery has been the standard treatment for more than a century. However, researchers now believe that antibiotics may offer a less-invasive treatment for children.
The research was led by Nigel Hall, neonatal surgeon at Southampton Children’s Hospital, who assessed the existing literature on 10 older studies. These 10 studies, conducted in the last decade, compared results of non-operative treatments with that of appendectomy. The trial involved a total of 413 children.
The latest research reveals that no adverse effects or safety concerns were discovered in children who were treated for appendicitis in a non-operative manner. However, children who underwent non-surgical treatment i.e. antibiotics, were susceptible to a relapse. The recurrence rate for antibiotic treatment was found to be 14 percent.
Most children who suffer from acute appendicitis have to undergo a surgery, which is not only expensive but also invasive. The research reveals that antibiotics may be used in the treatment of children who suffer from acute appendicitis.
“When we compared the adult literature to the data in our review it suggested that antibiotic treatment of acute appendicitis is at least as effective in children as in adults. This now needs to be explored more widely,” noted Hall.
The team is now conducting a feasibility trial to further their understanding. The trial will be conducted for a year and will test kids for effects of both treatments. The year-long trial will give the researchers an inkling into how many kids they will be able to take on board for a bigger trial in the future. The researchers are hopeful of gaining a deeper insight into the outcome of a surgery for appendicitis vis-à-vis antibiotic treatment.
The study has been published in the journal Pediatrics.
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