July 3, 2015 – Antibiotics and Appendicitis


Anchor lead:  Can appendicitis be treated with antibiotics? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Acute appendicitis has been treated as a surgical emergency for decades now, with largely good outcomes.  But is surgery really necessary or can antibiotics be used instead?  That was the question addressed in a recently published study described by Redonda Miller, an internal medicine expert at Johns Hopkins.

Miller: They did a randomized controlled trial, 530 patients with uncomplicated acute appendicitis by CT, and randomized them to antibiotic therapy for 10 days, versus appendectomy straight off.  What they found was that the 273 randomized to surgery all successful but one, and then the 256 who received the 10 days of antibiotics, 186, which is 72.7%, did fine.  None of the 20-some percent who ultimately required surgical intervention, had a bad outcome.   :33

Miller says additional research should help determine whether for most, antibiotics can cure appendicitis.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.