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A Standardized Protocol for Nonoperative Management of Complicated Appendicitis in Children Reduces Resource Utilization
Introduction To standardize care and reduce resource utilization, we implemented a standardized protocol (SP) for the nonoperative treatment of complicated appendicitis.
Materials and Methods We conducted a prospective, historically controlled, study of patients <21 years with complicated appendicitis managed nonoperatively using an SP from January 2017 to November 2018. The primary outcomes included length of stay (LOS), antibiotic days, peripheral inserted central catheter (PICC) utilization, discharge on intravenous antibiotics, and predischarge imaging. Secondary outcomes were protocol adherence and the rates of adverse events (AE) including return to emergency department (ED), readmission, failure of nonoperative treatment, and interval appendectomy complications.
Results Protocol adherence was 67.9%. In total, 741 children were treated for appendicitis of which 58 (30 pre-SP and 28 post-SP) were treated nonoperatively for complicated appendicitis at presentation. Patients were well matched for age, admission white blood cell, sex, body mass index, race, and the proportion requiring percutaneous drainage. After implementing the SP, fewer children had PICCs (100.0 vs. 57.1%, p ≤ 0.001), fewer were discharged on intravenous antibiotics (90.0 vs. 42.9%, p < 0.001), and total antibiotic days were reduced (14.0 vs. 10.0, p = 0.006). There was no difference in LOS (5.5 vs. 6.0 days, p = 0.790) or the proportion undergoing ultrasound (36.7 vs. 39.3%, p = 0.837) or computed tomography scan (16.7 vs. 3.6%, p = 0.195) prior to discharge. There were nonsignificant trends toward reduced AEs (46.7 vs. 35.7%, p = 0.397), returns to ED (40.0 vs. 28.6%, p = 0.360), and readmissions (26.7 vs. 17.9%, p = 0.421). The proportion failing nonoperative treatment (10.0 vs. 3.6%, p = 0.612) and experiencing complications of interval appendectomy (3.3 vs. 3.6%, p = 0.918) were not significantly different.
Conclusion Implementing an SP for treating complicated appendicitis nonoperatively reduced resource utilization without negatively affecting clinical outcomes.
Keywordsperforated appendicitis - nonoperative appendicitis - complicated appendicitis - standardized protocol - clinical pathway
Received: 15 May 2020
Accepted: 06 July 2020
23 August 2020 (online)
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