The removal of the appendix could become obsolete in the near future.
Antibiotics, according to Swedish experts, are an effective treatment for appendicitis, an infection of the enigmatic, worm-like organ. It could signal the end of one of the most common procedures performed by the NHS, the appendectomy.
Since more than a century ago, prompt appendectomy has been the standard treatment. However, according to researchers at the Karolinska Institute, the only danger of avoiding surgery and relying on antibiotics is a recurrence of appendicitis.
In the midst of a discrete effort to reduce NHS inpatient costs and the number of unnecessary procedures performed, these findings emerge. Without prompt treatment, the condition, which causes abdominal pain that travels to the lower right side, can be fatal.
As part of the first investigation, forty patients were divided into two groups. Half were appendectomy patients. The others received antibiotics for ten days, and all but one of them recovered successfully.
In contrast, the success rate in the second, larger investigation was 86%. When the results of studies were combined, it was discovered that 40% of antibiotic-treated patients ultimately required an appendectomy.
Nonoperative Management Safe and Effective for Most Patients with Appendicitis
More than half of the patients treated nonoperatively did not experience recurrence and avoided surgery for approximately two decades, according to the researchers.Other than the risk of appendicitis recurrence, there are no long-term hazards associated with nonoperative management.
They did observe that the diagnostic standards of the time differed from those of today. Now that physicians perform much higher rates of imaging, fewer patients are incorrectly diagnosed with appendicitis, they said.
The NHS estimates that approximately 50,000 individuals in England are hospitalized annually for appendicitis. Annually, approximately 11,6 million cases of appendicitis are reported in the United States.
Without treatment, the condition is potentially fatal. The appendix is removed from the body during surgery after three or four microscopic incisions are made in the abdomen. Close the wounds with staples or sutures.
After routine surgery, the majority of patients are able to return home the following day and resume normal activities within a week. As with any surgical procedure, there are hazards. About one in ten patients experience postoperative complications, such as a cutaneous infection.
In recent years, several European studies have demonstrated that the majority of patients with appendicitis can be successfully treated with antibiotics rather than surgery.
Experts declared seven years ago that it was ‘time to contemplate’ abandoning routine appendectomies.
Source: Daily Mail