To drain or not to drain: an analysis of abscess drains in the treatment of appendicitis with abscess

Abstract

Background/purpose

Perforated appendicitis is associated with abscess formation before or after appendectomy. Many abscesses are not amenable to drainage due to size or location. In this study, we compare patients who had a drain placed for an abscess to those who were treated without a drain.

Methods

Data were retrospectively collected from January 2000 to March 2011. Abscess before or after appendectomy was assessed. CT scans were reviewed and abscess size was estimated using the product of the greatest anteroposterior and lateral dimensions from an axial image. Patients with abscess smaller than 5 cm2 were excluded. Patients treated with a drain were compared to those without using t test for continuous variables and Fisher’s exact for categorical variables.

Results

Of 217 patients, those with drains had significantly more CT scans, total healthcare visits and larger abscess size. When match controlled for size, drain patients accrued more CT scans and healthcare visits. In a subset analysis of aspiration versus antibiotics only, there were more CT scans but no difference between length of stay, total healthcare visits, abscess size, recurrence, or complications.

Conclusions

Appendicitis-associated abscesses may be treated with antibiotics alone based on size, which improves resource utilization with fewer CT scans and healthcare visits.

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Correspondence to Shawn D. St. Peter.

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Gasior, A.C., Marty Knott, E., Ostlie, D.J. et al. To drain or not to drain: an analysis of abscess drains in the treatment of appendicitis with abscess. Pediatr Surg Int 29, 455–458 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00383-013-3262-3

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Keywords

  • Appendicitis
  • Abscess
  • Drainage
  • Pediatric