TUESDAY, Sept. 21, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- A delay of 12 or more hours before removing the appendix of patients with acute appendicitis does not lead to poorer outcomes, a new study shows.
U.S. researchers analyzed national data from 32,782 patients with acute appendicitis who underwent an appendectomy between 2005 and 2008. Of those patients, 75.2 percent had surgery within six hours of being admitted to the hospital, 15.1 percent had surgery within six to 12 hours, and 9.8 percent had surgery after more than 12 hours.
Operation times were slightly longer for patients who waited more than 12 hours for their surgery: 55 minutes compared with 50 minutes for those who had their surgery within six to 12 hours, and 51 minutes for those who had surgery within six hours. These differences were not clinically meaningful, Dr. Angela M. Ingraham, of the American College of Surgeons in Chicago, and colleagues noted in the report.
Hospital stays were also longer for patients who waited more than 12 hours: 2.2 days compared with 1.8 days for the other two groups. Again, this difference was not clinically significant.
Thirty days after surgery, there were no significant differences in outcomes or deaths between the three groups, according to the report published in the September issue of the journal Archives of Surgery.
The researchers noted that advances in non-surgical treatment of appendicitis has potentially reduced the need for immediate surgical removal of the appendix.
Ingraham's team added that increasing demands for emergency surgery mean that less critically ill patients may have to wait while surgeons help patients requiring immediate attention.
"Appendectomy is the most common emergent surgical procedure performed worldwide, with appendicitis accounting for approximately 1 million hospital days annually," the authors wrote as background information in the article.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about appendicitis.