Multiple protocols have been described for pediatric appendicitis, but few have been compared with off-protocol treatment. We performed such a comparison. Children treated for appendicitis by three pediatric surgeons over a 28-month period were studied. A protocol of primary wound closure
without drains, standardized use of antibiotics, and patient discharge according to predetermined clinical criteria was compared with individualized drain use, antibiotic selection, and discharge timing. Three hundred ninety-seven children were treated, 43 per cent on pathway (Group I) and
57 per cent off pathway (Group II). The two groups showed similar incidence of acute (45% vs 46%), complicated (50% vs 49%), and normal (5%) appendix. Among patients with simple appendicitis, Group I had less postoperative antibiotic use (16% vs 80% P < 0.001),
shorter hospital stays (1.44 vs 1.89 days, P = 0.001), and decreased hospital charges ($9,289 vs $10,751, P = 0.001). Among patients with complicated appendicitis, Group I had less drain placement (4% vs 27%, P < 0.001),
less use of discharge antibiotics (13% vs 39%, P < 0.001), and no readmission (0% vs 5%, P = 0.05). Infectious complications were similar between the two groups. A clinical pathway decreases the use of unnecessary antibiotics, hospital stay, and charges
for simple appendicitis. It decreases the use of unnecessary drains, and eliminates readmissions after complicated appendicitis.
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Document Type: Research Article
From the Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California, Irvine Children's Hospital, Orange, California and Miller Children's Hospital, Long Beach, California
Publication date: October 1, 2006
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