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Preoperative administration of antibiotics in patients with suspected acute appendicitis

Abstract

The effectiveness of administering antibiotics preoperatively to patients with suspected appendicitis was evaluated over a 2-year period in 105 consecutive patients who presented with right lower quadrant (RLQ) tenderness and a white blood cell (WBC) count of over 10,000/mm3 or a temperature of over 37°C. All the patients were preoperatively administered cefazolin (CEZ), cefotiam (CTM), or fosfomycin (FOM) except those with apparent peritonitis, which resulted in the recovery of 41 patients (39%). Of the remaining 64 patients, 14 (13%) had catarrhal appendicitis, 34 (32%), phlegmonous appendicitis, and 16 (15%), gangrenous appendicitis. Preoperatively, there were no significant differences among these groups in the WBC count or temperature. Following the administration of antibiotics, both these parameters decreased significantly in the patients with catarrhal appendicitis, although a slight RLQ tenderness persisted; in those with phlegmonous appendicitis, the WBC count decreased significantly, but the temperature remained elevated, with slight rebound tenderness in the RLQ; and in those with gangrenous appendicitis, there were no significant differences between the pre- and postoperative data in WBC count or temperature, and the abdominal symptoms did not change. These results show the value of administering antibiotics within 24h of the onset of symptoms indicative of acute appendicitis to allow time to evaluate the patients' condition, decide the operative indications, and prevent unnecessary laparotomy.

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Murao, Y., Ueda, S. & Miyamoto, S. Preoperative administration of antibiotics in patients with suspected acute appendicitis. Surg Today 26, 314–322 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00311599

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Key Words

  • acute appendicitis
  • antibiotics
  • preoperative administration
  • differential diagnosis
  • operative indication