17-Jun-15 8:00 AM  CST

Surgery Not The Only Option Available To Treat Appendicitis

The appendix, which is actually part of the digestive system, sits approximately to the lower right of the abdomen. A thin tube no more than 4 inches long the real function of the appendix is unknown. Some believe the appendix is simply an organ left as a result of evolution while others believe it may assist in rebooting the body’s system after an episode of digestive illness. Appendicitis is a condition that causes the appendix to become infected and inflamed. When appendicitis occurs the appendix often has to be surgically removed in order to prevent it from rupturing and sending potentially fatal poison throughout the body.

A new study published in the June 16th 2015 Journal of the American Medical Association finds that the most common route of treatment for appendicitis, an appendectomy, may become a thing of the past. According to the article approximately 80% of all patients diagnosed with appendicitis can have their condition successfully treated with the use of antibiotics. Dr. Paulina Salminen of the Turku University Hospital in Finland believes the use of appendectomy to treat appendicitis may soon be a second line of treatment. Dr. Salminen states that there are two different types of appendicitis patients, those who must be treated immediately as a surgical procedure due to the severity of inflammation and pain and those who have a milder form of appendicitis and can be treated with antibiotics. The use of a CT scan can accurately determine which type of appendicitis a patient may have.

During her study Dr. Salminen and her colleagues at Turku University Hospital randomly chose 530 patients diagnosed with acute appendicitis. The patients were then given a 10-day course of antibiotics. 99.6% of the patients treated for appendicitis with antibiotics were successfully relieved of their symptoms. Researchers continued to follow the patients for a period of 1 year and found that only 27% of the patients being followed needed surgery to alleviate a reoccurring bout of appendicitis.

More than 300,000 appendectomies are done each year in the U. S. alone.  This latest study may very well set the medical community on a new track for the standard treatment of appendicitis. Dr. Edward Livingston, deputy editor for the Journal of American Medical Association believes the proof behind the study can be attributed to the advances made by modern medicine over the last 130 years. Stronger and more efficient antibiotics as well as the advent of CT and Ultrasounds allow physicians to better diagnose emergent and non-emergent situations. Treating appendicitis with antibiotics not only spares the patient an invasive procedure, but a costly one as well. Given the choice, Dr. Livingston states he would chose antibiotics over a surgical procedure every time.

Resources:

Reinberg, S., (2015), “Appendicitis Can Often Be Treated With Antibiotics”, WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/news/20150616/appendicitis-can-often-be-treated-with-antibiotics, retrieved, 16, June 2015

WebMD, (2015), “Digestive Disorders”, http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/picture-of-the-appendix, retrieved, 16, June 2015

 


For additional information on this article, please contact:
 
Sandra Andrews
(717) 360-1159
 
Source: Sandy Andrews  

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