Postoperative antibiotics and time to reach discharge criteria after appendectomy for complex appendicitis

Anne Loes van den Boom*, Elisabeth M L de Wijkerslooth, Louis J X Giesen, Charles C van Rossem, Boudewijn R Toorenvliet, Bas P L Wijnhoven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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INTRODUCTION: Postoperative antibiotic treatment is indicated for 3-5 days following appendectomy for complex appendicitis. However, meeting discharge criteria may allow for safe discontinuation of antibiotics and discharge. This study assessed the association between time to reach discharge criteria and duration of postoperative antibiotic use and length of stay.

METHODS: This is a multicenter retrospective cohort study including patients who underwent appendectomy for complex appendicitis and received postoperative antibiotics for >24 h. Main outcome measures were time to reach discharge criteria, duration of postoperative antibiotic use, length of hospital stay, and postoperative infectious complications. Discharge criteria were defined as absence of fever (temperature ≤38°C) for 24 h, ability to tolerate oral intake, and pain controlled by oral analgesics.

RESULTS: Between May 2014 and January 2015, 124 patients were included. Time to reach discharge criteria was 2 days (interquartile range [IQR] 1-3). Patients received postoperative antibiotics and were in hospital for a median of 5 (IQR 3-5) and 5 (IQR 4-6) days, respectively. Infectious complications occurred in 12% and did not differ between patients reaching discharge criteria before or after 2 postoperative days.

DISCUSSION: Discharge criteria were met by a median of 2 days after appendectomy for complex appendicitis. This suggests that postoperative antibiotics duration and thereby hospital stay can be reduced. In daily practice, prescribed antibiotics are not reduced in total days given. Prospective studies that evaluate limited postoperative antibiotic use, based on these criteria, are necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-168
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive Surgery
Issue number4
Early online date30 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2023

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