Appendicitis: A continuing challenge

K. M.I. Pal, A. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Acute appendicitis is a common surgical emergency in urban setting, of a developing country. The computerised hospital patient database at Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, was utilised to obtain records of all adults with a histologically proven diagnosis of acute appendicitis. A review of patients treated over a 18 month period was undertaken. One hundred and three appendicectomies were performed for acute appendicitis during this period. The diagnosis was clinical in all cases. Investigations like leucocyte count and lower abdominal ultrasound scan were used to improve diagnostic accuracy without a clear advantage. A number of routine investigations like, haemoglobin estimation and urea, creatinine, electrolyte measurements, did not provide additional information. The duration of antibiotic treatment in acute simple appendicitis was empiric and could be reduced to a single preoperative dose. Peritoneal fluid culture studies had a poor yield (26%) and results were not found to effect management in acute simple appendicitis. The routine use of Ampicillin in all cases of bacterial peritonitis needs re-evaluation, as a high incidence (73%) of resistance was seen. Studies to define the role and duration of treatment, with a single antibiotic, in acute simple appendicitis should be undertaken. Acute appendicitis is probably the most frequently considered surgical differential diagnosis at any hospital dealing with acute surgical conditions. The established treatment continues to be surgical removal of the inflamed organ. The diagnosis and decision to operate both are accepted to be based on clinical judgement, though a number of investigative manoeuvres have been described to reduce the negative appendicectomy rate1. Other areas of debate are the number and length of antibiotic treatment and use of bacterial culture studies in cases of simple acute appendicitis2,3. To analyse present practice and identify areas for study and change, a retrospective study was undertaken at Aga Khan Unviersity Hospital (AKUH), Karachi.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-192
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Pakistan Medical Association
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1998


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