WSES Jerusalem guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of acute appendicitis
Di Saverio et al. World Journal of Emergency Surgery
WSES Jerusalem guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of acute appendicitis
Salomone Di Saverio
Micheal D. Kelly
Dieter G. Weber
Mark De Moya
Carlos Augusto Gomes
Ernest E. Moore
Steve De Castro
Kurinchi S. Gurusamy
Fabio Cesare Campanile
Andrew B. Peitzman
Gustavo P. Fraga
Ronald V. Maier
Zsolt J Balogh
Acute appendicitis (AA) is among the most common cause of acute abdominal pain. Diagnosis of AA is challenging; a variable combination of clinical signs and symptoms has been used together with laboratory findings in several scoring systems proposed for suggesting the probability of AA and the possible subsequent management pathway. The role of imaging in the diagnosis of AA is still debated, with variable use of US, CT and MRI in different settings worldwide. Up to date, comprehensive clinical guidelines for diagnosis and management of AA have never been issued. In July 2015, during the 3rd World Congress of the WSES, held in Jerusalem (Israel), a panel of experts including an Organizational Committee and Scientific Committee and Scientific Secretariat, participated to a Consensus Conference where eight panelists presented a number of statements developed for each of the eight main questions about diagnosis and management of AA. The statements were then voted, eventually modified and finally approved by the participants to The Consensus Conference and lately by the board of co-authors. The current paper is reporting the definitive Guidelines Statements on each of the following topics: 1) Diagnostic efficiency of clinical scoring systems, 2) Role of Imaging, 3) Non-operative treatment for uncomplicated appendicitis, 4) Timing of appendectomy and in-hospital delay, 5) Surgical treatment 6) Scoring systems for intra-operative grading of appendicitis and their clinical usefulness 7) Non-surgical treatment for complicated appendicitis: abscess or phlegmon 8) Pre-operative and post-operative antibiotics.
Acute Appendicitis; Guidelines; Consensus Conference; Alvarado Score; Appendicitis diagnosis score; Non-operative management; Antibiotics; Complicated appendicitis; Appendectomy; Laparoscopic appendectomy; Phlegmon; Appendiceal abscess
Acute appendicitis (AA) is a common cause of acute
abdominal pain, which can progress to perforation and
peritonitis, associated with morbidity and mortality. The
lifetime risk of appendicitis is 8.6 % for males and 6.7 % for
females; however, the risk of undergoing appendectomy is
much lower for males than for females (12 vs. 23 %) and it
occurs most often between the ages of 10 and 30, with a
male:female ratio of approximately 1.4:1 [
numerous studies on AA, many unresolved issues remain,
including aetiology and treatment. The diagnosis of AA is
a constellation of history, physical examination coupled
with laboratory investigations, supplemented by selective
focused imaging. These can be used in combination in
scoring systems. Various clinical scoring systems have been
proposed in order to predict AA with certainty, but none
has been widely accepted. The role of diagnostic imaging
(ultrasound (US), computed tomography (CT) or magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI)) is another major controversy.
The surgical treatment of AA has undergone a
paradigm shift from open appendectomy to laparoscopic
appendectomy, both in adults and now also in paediatric
cases. Over the last decade non-operative treatment with
antibiotics has been proposed as an alternative to
surgery in uncomplicated cases [
], while the non-surgical
treatment played an important role in the management
of complicated appendicitis with phlegmon or abscess
]. Another major issue in management still open to
debate is the timing of appendectomy and the safety of
in-hospital delay. Moreover, there are debated
recommendations on the type of surgical treatment and the
post-operative management including antibiotic therapy.
For these reasons the World Society of Emergency
Surgery (WSES) decided to convene a Consensus
Conference (CC) to study the topic and define its guidelines
regarding diagnosis and treatment of AA.
Material and methods: organizational model
On August 2013 the Organizational Board of the 2nd
World Congress of the World Society of Emergency
Surgery (WSES) endorsed its president to organize the
Consensus Conference (CC) on AA in order to develop
WSES Guidelines on this topic. The WSES President
appointed four members to a Scientific Secretariat, eight
members to an Organizational Committee and eight
members to a Scientific Committee, choosing them from
the expert affiliates of the Society. Eight key questions on
the diagnosis and treatment of AA were developed in
order to guide analysis of the literature and subsequent
discussion of the topic (Table 1). Under the supervision of
the Scientific Secretariat, a bibliographic search related to
these questions was performed through April 2015
without time or language restriction. The key words used for
the electronic search are listed in Table 1. Additionally a
manual literature search was performed by each of the
members of the working groups involved in the analysis of
the above-mentioned eight questions. Prior to the
Consensus Conference, a number of statements were
developed for each of the main questions, along with the Level
of Evidence (LoE) and the Grade of Recommendation
(GoR) for each statement. The 2011 Oxford Classification
was used to grade the LoE and GoR. Provisional
statements and their supporting evidence were then submitted
for review to all the participating members of the
Consensus Conference and to the WSES board members by email
before the Conference. Modifications were performed
when necessary based on feedback.
The Consensus Conference on AA was held in Jerusalem,
Israel, on July 6th, 2015 during the 3rd World Congress of
the WSES. During the first part of this CC, a member of
each group (S. Di Saverio, M.D. Kelly, D. Weber, F. Catena,
M. Sugrue, M. Sartelli, M. De Moya, C.A. Gomes)
presented each of the statements along with LoE, GoR, and
the literature supporting each statement. Each statement
was then voted upon by the audience in terms of “agree” or
“disagree” using an electronic voting system. The
percentage of agreement was recorded immediately; in case of
greater than 30 % disagreement, the statement was
modified after discussion. Furthermore, comments for each
statement were collected in all cases. Before the second
part of the Consensus Conference, the president and
representatives from the Organizational Committee, Scientific
Committee and Scientific Secretariat modified the
statements according to the findings of the first session of the
CC. The revised statements were then presented again to
the audience. During the Consensus Conference, a
comprehensive algorithm for the treatment of AA was developed
based on the results of the first session of the CC and voted
upon for definitive approval (Fig. 1). The final statements,
along with their LoE and GoR, are available in Appendix.
All statements are reported in the following Results section,
subdivided by each of the eight questions, with the relative
discussion and supportive evidence.
Diagnostic efficiency of clinical scoring systems
Diagnostic efficiency of clinical scoring systems and
their role in the management of patients with
suspected appendicitis - can they be used as basis
for a structured management?(Speaker in Jerusalem
CC Dr. D. G. Weber)
Multiple diagnostic scoring systems have been
developed with the aim to provide clinical probabilities that a
patient has acute appendicitis. These scores typically
incorporate clinical features of the history and physical
examination, and laboratory parameters. Most popular
1. Diagnostic efficiency of clinical scoring systems
Diagnostic efficiency of clinical scoring systems and their role in
the management of patients with suspected appendicitis - can
they be used as basis for a structured management?
2. Role of imaging
Routine vs selective imaging? CT or US or both? In what order?
3. Non-operative treatment for uncomplicated appendicitis.
What is the natural history of appendicitis? Can appendicitis resolve
without treatment? How common is it?
4. Timing of appendectomy and in-hospital delay
Does in-hospital delay increasethe rate of complication or perforation?
Is it safe to delay appendectomy? Timing of appendectomy
5. Surgical treatment
-open or laparoscopic?
-lavage or aspiration of pus?
-ligation or invagination of the stump?
-primary or secondary closure of the wound?
Derivation OR clinical OR predict OR decision
AND rule OR algorithm OR tool OR model OR score OR indicator OR
validation OR criteria
Diagnosis OR imaging
AND selective OR routine
AND ultrasound OR computed AND tomography OR US OR CT OR MRI
AND adult OR child OR pregnant
AND pathogenesis OR antibiotics
OR nonoperative OR conservative OR spontaneous AND resolution or
AND treatment OR management
AND delay OR perforation OR complication OR indicator OR criteria
Surgery OR operative OR laparoscopy OR open OR treatment OR
AND elder OR comorbidities OR obese OR child OR pregnant
AND complicated OR perforated OR abscess
AND lavage OR aspiration OR suction OR drain OR mesoappendix OR
sealing OR monopolar OR bipolar OR staple OR endoloop OR stump
OR invagination OR ligation
6. Scoring systems for intra-operative grading of appendicitis and their intra-operative AND grade OR score OR indicator OR criteria
clinical usefulness AND histopathology OR macroscopic AND diagnosis
What are the histopathological criteria for appendicitis of clinical importance? OR surgeon AND experience
Minor inflammatory changes, early appendicitis, catarrhal appendicitis. AND appendicitis
The criteria used will have an influence on the proportion of negative
appendectomy, and also on evaluation of diagnostic performance.
and validated examples include the Alvarado score (also
known as the MANTRELS score) [
], the Paediatric
Appendicitis Score (PAS) [
], the Appendicitis
Inflammatory Response (AIR) Score [
], the Raja Isteri Pengiran
Anak Saleha Appendicitis (RIPASA) score [
] and, most
recently, the Adult Appendicitis Score (AAS) [
comparison among these clinical scores is reported in Table 2.
Alvarado and AIR scores are currently the most often
used scores in the clinical settings. The primary data from
which these scores have been derived are largely from
retrospective and prospective cross-sectional studies, and
represent either level 2 or 3 evidence.
More recently, attempts have been made to incorporate
imaging findings into diagnostic scoring systems. Atema
] described a scoring system that successfully
distinguished complicated from uncomplicated acute
appendicitis, reporting a negative predictive value of 94.7 % (in
correctly identifying patients with uncomplicated disease).
A diagnostic scoring system that incorporates imaging to
the primary clinical diagnosis of acute appendicitis has not
yet been developed [
The Alvarado score is the most extensively studied
score (though this statement is biased by time; the
Alvarado score has been around much longer than some
of the newer scores, e.g. the AAS). Its validity has been
summarised in a recent meta-analysis [
5960 patients in 29 studies. According to Ohle et al., the
score’s performance is dependent on the cut-off value: a
clinical cut-off score of less than five can be applied to
'rule out' appendicitis with a sensitivity of 99 % (95 % CI
97 – 99 %) and a specificity of 43 % (36 – 51 %), while a
cut-off score of less than seven results in a sensitivity of
82 % (76 – 86 %) and a specificity of 81 % (76–85 %),
suggesting it is not sufficiently accurate to rule in or rule out
surgery. Individual validation studies occasionally reported
lower sensitivity, questioning the ability of the Alvarado
score to reliably exclude appendicitis with a cut-off score
of less than five [
]. However, these concerns are not
supported by the pooled meta-analysis of those data .
The Appendicitis Inflammatory Response (AIR) score
has been proposed in 2008 by Andersson [
] and is based
on eight variables, including C-reactive protein (CRP).
The AIR score showed a significant better discriminating
capacity when compared with the Alvarado score,
with a ROC area of 0.97 vs. 0.92 for advanced
appendicitis (p = 0.0027) and 0.93 vs. 0.88 for all
appendicitis (p = 0.0007). According to the score, two cut-off
points were identified to obtain three diagnostic test
zones: a score <4 (low probability) has a high sensitivity
(0.96) for appendicitis and can be used to rule out
appendicitis; a score between five and eight identifies the
intermediate probability patients, that require observation
and eventual further investigations; a score >8 (high
probability) has a high specificity (0.99) for appendicitis and
can be used to rule in appendicitis. The AIR score has
been also externally validated (ROC AIR 0.96 vs. Alvarado
0.82 p < 0.001) [
], especially in the high-risk patients,
where a higher specificity and positive predictive value
than the Alvarado score (97 vs. 76 % p < 0.05 and 88 vs.
65 % p < 0.05, respectively) has been reported [
AIR score has demonstrated to be useful in guiding
decision-making to reduce admissions, optimize utility of
diagnostic imaging and prevent negative explorations [
Diagnostic scoring systems may perform differently in
adult and paediatric patients. In fact, at a practical level,
several of the predictor variables may be difficult to apply
(e.g. asking an infant to describe migratory pain). The
definition of a paediatric patient was not standardised among
the studies, or clearly defined in the meta-analysis.
Another systematic review compared the Alvarado
score with the Paediatric Appendicitis Score,
favouring the former [
aAlvarado score: sum 0–4 = not likely appendicitis, sum 5–6 = equivocal, sum 7–8 = probably appendicitis, sum 9–10 = highly likely appendicitis
bAcute appendicitis response score (AIR): sum 0–4 = low probability, sum 5–8 = indeterminate group, sum 9–12 = high probability [
cPediatric appendicitis score (PAS): ≥6 = appendicitis, ≤5 = observe
dRaja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Appendicitis (RIPASA) score
eAdult Appendicitis Score (AAS): low risk (0–10 points), intermediate risk (11–15 points), high risk (≥16 points)
fright iliac fossa
The various derivation and validation studies
investigating the different diagnostic scoring systems are
troubled by various methodological weaknesses. Firstly, there
is often inadequate definition of predictor variables,
absence of reproducibility testing of predictor variables
], lack of blinding and insufficient power [
Secondly, with regards to the participants, these studies
often only include patients who an appendectomy was
subsequently performed and for this reason potentially
under-report false negatives. Such studies are
questionable as the score is meant to be used on patients with
suspicion of appendicitis, before all other diagnostic
workup or selection. Thirdly, there is great variability in
the study populations’ level of appendicitis (ranging
between approximately 10 – 80 %); studies with a high rate
of disease should demonstrate a higher specificity in
their diagnostic scoring system. Regrettably, due to these
multiple factors, there is a great deal of heterogeneity
among the diagnostic studies used to derive and validate
the diagnostic scoring systems described. This
heterogeneity, differences in treatment systems, and the
fundamental demographic differences in treatment cohorts
confound the direct applicability of these clinical studies
in other practices.
No data are available to evaluate the ability of the
published diagnostic scoring systems to improve clinical
outcomes (e.g. length of hospital stay, perforation rate,
negative appendectomy rate).
No cost analysis of diagnostic scoring system for the
clinical diagnosis of acute appendicitis was identified.
The sensitivity and specificity of the diagnostic scoring
systems are inversely related. At the expense of specificity,
scoring systems may be given sufficiently sensitive cut-off
scores to exclude disease (e.g. Alvarado score < 5).
However, none of the current diagnostic scoring systems can
reach enough specificity to identify with absolute certainty
which patients warrant an appendectomy.
Statement 1.1 The Alvarado score (with cut-off
score < 5) is sufficiently sensitive to exclude acute
appendicitis. [EL 1, GoR A].
Statement 1.2 The Alvarado score is not sufficiently
specific in diagnosing acute appendicitis [EL 1, GoR A].
Statement 1.3 An ideal (high sensitivity and
specificity), clinically applicable, diagnostic scoring system/
clinical rule remains outstanding. This remains an area
for future research. [EL 1, GoR B]
What is the value of clinical and laboratory findings in
patients with suspected appendicitis?
The decision to do additional imaging of a patient with
suspected appendicitis is based mainly on the complaints
of the patient combined with findings at physical
examination. The clinical presentation is, however, seldom
typical and diagnostic errors are common. A thorough
clinical examination is often stressed as an essential part
of diagnosis, with laboratory examinations as an adjunct
to the gathered clinical information. The review by
] shows that each element of the history
and of clinical and laboratory examinations is of weak
discriminatory and predictive capacity. However, clinical
diagnosis is a synthesis of information obtained from all
these sources, and a high discriminatory and predictive
power can be achieved by an accurate understanding of
the relative importance of variables in combination.
When the values of two or more inflammatory variables
found in laboratory are normal, appendicitis is unlikely.
Conversely, appendicitis is very likely when the values of
two or more inflammatory variables are increased [
Laboratory tests of the inflammatory response and the
clinical descriptors of peritoneal irritation and migration
of pain are the strongest discriminators and should be
included in the diagnostic assessment of patients with
Role of imaging
What is the optimum pathway for imaging in patients
with suspected acute appendicitis? Routine vs. selective
imaging? CT or US or both? In what order?(Speaker in
Jerusalem CC Dr. M. Sugrue)
Diagnosis of AA is made by clinical history and
physical examination the typical symptoms and laboratory
signs may be absent in 20–33 % of patients and, when
they are present, can be similar to other conditions,
especially in early stage [
] and the diagnosis can be
particularly difficult in children, elderly patients,
pregnant and childbearing age women.
Although several previous studies have shown
discriminant factors in the differential diagnosis of AA
and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in childbearing
age women [
], imaging techniques such as US, CT
or MRI may be required to reduce the negative
appendectomy rate, with a low level of evidence currently available
]. Occasionally there is a role for diagnostic
laparoscopy particularly in younger female patients [
In patients older than age 50 years diverticulosis is
extremely common in the USA and Europe (about 8.5 % of
the population) [
]. Right-sided diverticula occur more
often in younger patients than do left-sided diverticula and
because patients are young and present with right lower
quadrant pain, they are often thought to suffer from acute
appendicitis; it is difficult to differentiate solitary caecal
diverticulitis from acute appendicitis. More than 70 % of
patients with caecal diverticulitis were operated on with a
preoperative diagnosis of acute appendicitis. In addition,
selective focused imaging can be used for increasing the
positive appendectomy rate imaging with aim to aid in
diagnosing alternative diseases, who may not need surgery
(e.g. omental infarction, solitary caecal diverticulum and
torsion of appendix epilplocae). Nevertheless, delay in
diagnosis later than 24 h increases risk of perforation, [
When recommending the choice of the imaging
strategy, the patients’ age and the potential radiation exposure
are important. Although a careful balance of risk-benefit
ratio is needed, particularly in young patients and women
of childbearing age, routine use of CT scan has been
demonstrated to be associated with lower negative
appendectomy rates [
]. Furthermore, there is increasing
evidence that spontaneous resolution of AA is common
and that imaging can lead to increased detection of benign
forms of the condition [
In view of the increased use of CT in children and
concerns regarding radiation based imaging, the National
Cancer Institute and the American Paediatric Surgical
Association recommend use of non-radiation based
imaging such as US where possible [
]. Currently, over
50 % of children undergoing appendectomy in North
America have radiation based imaging [
]. This rate is
too high [
] and a tailored approach based on risk is
sensible, especially in children. Universal imaging of
patients with CT, apart from consuming resources, is not
without health risks. It has been estimated that the benefit
of universal imaging in avoiding 12 unnecessary
appendectomies could result in one additional cancer death [
In pregnant women with suspected appendicitis a
positive US requires no further confirmatory test.
However, in case of appendix non-visualization on US, MRI
is the recommended imaging exam, since it yields a high
diagnostic rate and accuracy [
In settings having availability of such resource, MRI
can also be considered for pediatric appendicitis imaging
being a non-radiative imaging modality potentially
valuable in the setting of negative ultrasound.
Imaging is key in optimizing outcomes in appendicitis,
not only as an aid in early diagnosis, but potentially
reducing negative appendectomy rates. Combining
appropriate imaging with history, physical examination
and laboratory tests are crucial to this [
8, 19, 44–49
With use of novel scoring systems combining clinical
and imaging features, 95 % of the patients deemed to
have uncomplicated appendicitis were correctly
identified as such . Soreide in a recent PubMed search
under the term appendicitis found over 20,000 articles,
but few randomized trials, especially in imaging, have
been undertaken with resultant variable level of evidence
]. Wide variation in rates of imaging as low as a
CT rate of 12 % in the UK, to 95 % in the US
suggests a need for practice guidelines [
]. Only 25 %
of Australian patients undergo imaging [
The surgeon has the responsibility of managing each
case in the best way considering three possibilities:
hospital discharge, admission for observation, surgical
treatment. Estimating pre-image likelihood of
appendicitis is important in tailoring management: low-risk
patients could be discharged with appropriate safety
netting, whereas high-risk patients are likely to require
early senior review with a focus on timely surgical
intervention rather than diagnostic imaging [
scoring systems to guide imaging can be helpful [
Low risk patients being admitted to hospital and
considered for surgery could have appendicitis ruled in
or out by abdominal CT. A negative CT would generally
allow the discharge of the patient with appropriate short
outpatient-department follow-up [
Intermediate-risk classification identifies patients likely to
benefit from observation and systematic diagnostic
imaging. In the intermediate risk group an abdominal
ultrasound would be the first line in imaging. A positive
ultrasound would lead to appendectomy and a negative test
to either CT or further clinical observation. A conditional
CT strategy, where CT is performed after a negative US,
will reduce number of CTs by 50 % and will correctly
identify as many patients with appendicitis as an immediate CT
strategy. However, conditional CT imaging results in more
false positives [
]. Overall sensitivity and specificity
of US and CT is 58–76, 95 and 99, 84 % respectively
]. Performing serial US may improve accuracy
and reduce the number of CT performed [
High-risk scoring patients may not require imaging in
certain settings, nonetheless US or CT before surgery is
routinely performed in western countries in such
Standard reporting templates for ultrasound may
enhance accuracy [
]. To optimize sensitivity and specificity
three step sequential positioning or graded compression
bedside may be beneficial [
], as opposed to radiology
department. US lacks Level 1/2 evidence to support its
], The routine use of IV contrast to enhance the
accuracy of CT is not clear [
], nor is the role of dose
Findings suggestive of appendicitis include a thickened
wall, a non-compressible lumen, diameter greater than
6 mm, absence of gas in the lumen, appendicoliths,
hyperechogenic periappendicular fat, fluid collection consistent
with an abscess, local dilation and hypoperistalsis, free
fluid and lymphadenopathy [
]. The most sensitive sign
seems to be a non-compressible appendix that exceeds
6 mm in diameter (up to 98 % sensitive), although some
centres use 7 mm to improve their specificity [
described earlier, ultrasound is inferior to CT in sensitivity
and its negative predictive value for appendicitis and may
not be as useful for excluding appendicitis [
]. This is
particularly true if the appendix was never visualized. False
negatives are also more likely in patients with a ruptured
appendix. The potential adverse effect of high BMI on US
accuracy is surprisingly not clear [
MRI is comparable to US with conditional use of CT in
identifying perforated appendicitis. However, both strategies
incorrectly classify up to half of all patients with perforated
appendicitis as having simple appendicitis [
systems will enhance the ability to categorize whether
appendicitis is simple or complex, showing that imaging is
not a replacement for clinical examination. Finally, imaging
may be undertaken by non-radiologists outside the
radiology departments with variable results [
USA vs. EU perspective on appendicitis diagnosis
AA is rarely diagnosed by history/physical examination
in the United States (USA). Unfortunately most of these
patients in the USA are seen by emergency physicians
and tests are ordered before the surgeon is called. In
adults, it is rare to not obtain a CT scan unless a thin
male (also rare in the USA). In children, an ultrasound
is nearly always done. In the USA, logistics and legal
concerns unfortunately impact our decision-making.
Despite the EU and the USA having similar access to
health care, health technology and standards, they are very
different healthcare systems with some inherent
differences in the management strategies for appendicitis. One
aspect that highlights this is the pre-operative imaging
strategy for diagnosis. In the EU, only around 12.9 % of
patients undergo pre-operative CT imaging [
]; which is
typically reserved for elderly patients who might have
cancer, atypical or delayed presentations or those who have
suspected appendicular masses or abscesses. Young males
with typical histories and examination findings would go
straight to theatre without any imaging. Females would
get an abdominal and pelvic ultrasound and laparoscopy if
uncertainty exists. Perhaps as a consequence of this
strategy, the rate of negative appendectomy in the UK is
around 20 % [
]; this is in contrast to the USA. For
instance, analysis of 3540 appendectomies form the Surgical
Care and Outcomes Assessment Programme (SCOAP) in
Washington State demonstrates that 86 % of patients
underwent pre-operative imaging, 91 % of whom
underwent CT [
]. In addition, in the UK, appendectomy is
widely regarded as a training operation that most
registrars would perform independently. From 2867
appendectomies in the recent UK audit, 87 % were performed by
residents, and 72 % were performed unsupervised [
Laparoscopic appendectomy is performed, especially in
high volume units, during the daytime and when a
consultant is present in theatre, but overall 33.7 % of cases are
performed as open procedures [
Statement 2.1 In patients with suspected
appendicitis a tailored individualised approach is
recommended, depending on disease probability, sex and age
of the patient (EL 2 GoR B) Statement 2.2 Imaging
should be linked to Risk Stratification such as AIR or
Alvarado score. (EL2, GoR B)
Statement 2.3 Low risk patients being admitted
to hospital and not clinically improving or
reassessed score could have appendicitis rule-in or
out by abdominal CT. (EL 2, GoR B)
Statement 2.4 Intermediate-risk classification
identifies patients likely to benefit from observation and
systematic diagnostic imaging. (EL 2, GoR B)
Statement 2.5 High-risk patients (younger than
60 years-old) may not require pre-operative imaging.
(EL 2, GoR B)
Statement 2.6 US Standard reporting templates
forultrasound and US three step sequential
positioningmay enhance over accuracy. (EL 3, GoR B)
Statement 2.7 MRI is recommended in pregnant
patients with suspected appendicitis, if this resource
is available. (EL 2, GoR B)
Non-operative treatment for uncomplicated appendicitis
What is the natural history of appendicitis? Can appendicitis resolve without treatment? How common is it?(Speaker in Jerusalem CC Dr. F. Catena)
The analysis of the epidemiologic and clinical studies
that elucidate the natural history of appendicitis
performed by Andersson in 2007 showed that not all
patients with uncomplicated appendicitis will progress
to perforation and that spontaneous resolution may be a
common event [
]. Also the recent review published in
The Lancet investigated the natural history of appendicitis
and distinguished between normal appendix,
uncomplicated appendicitis and complicated appendicitis, according
to their macroscopic and microscopic appearance and
clinical relevance. Actually, if this is related to the natural
history of appendicitis or not is still unknown, but
according to the authors these may be two distinct forms of
appendicitis: the first one is a mild simple appendicitis that
responds to antibiotics or could be even self-limiting,
whereas the other often seems to perforate before the
patient reaches the hospital. Although the mortality rate is
low, postoperative complications are common in case of
complicated disease [
In order to elucidate the role of non-operative treatment
of uncomplicated appendicitis, in 2012 Varadhan et al.
performed a meta-analysis including four randomized
controlled trials with a total of 900 patients (470 antibiotic
treatment, 430 appendectomy): the antibiotic treatment
was associated with a 63 % success rate at 1 year and a
lower complication rate with a relative risk reduction of
31 % if compared with appendectomy (RR 0.69, I2 = 0 %,
P = 0.004). Moreover, this risk reduction was found to
be more relevant (39 %, RR 0.61, I2 = 0 %, P = 0.02),
if the studies with crossover of patients between the
antibiotic and surgical treatment were excluded. The
analysis did not find significant differences for
treatment efficacy, length of stay or risk of developing
complicated appendicitis [
The observational NOTA (Non Operative Treatment
for Acute Appendicitis) study treated 159 patients with
suspected appendicitis with antibiotics [mean AIR
(Appendicitis Inflammatory Response) score = 4.9 and
mean Alvarado score = 6.2 (range 3–9) [
]] with a
2year follow-up. The mean length of stay of those patients
was 0.4 days and mean sick leave period was 5.8 days.
The short-term (7 days) failure rate was 11.9 %. Of 22
patients with a long-term recurrence (13.8 %), 14 were
successfully treated nonoperatively [
Recently, the RCT by Svensson et al. included 50
paediatric patients (24 antibiotic treatment, 26
appendectomy) with 92 % of success rate in the non-operative
group. However, an 8 % short-term failure (two patients,
one complicated appendicitis and one mesenteric
lymphadenitis) and 38 % long-term (12 months) failure
were reported in the non-operative group (one acute
appendicitis, six patients with recurrent abdominal pain
but no histopathological evidence of appendicitis and
one for parental wish) [
The APPAC (Antibiotic Therapy vs Appendectomy for
Treatment of Uncomplicated Acute Appendicitis) trial,
published in JAMA in 2015, enrolled 350 patients with
uncomplicated appendicitis confirmed by CT-scanning
(257 antibiotic therapy, 273 appendectomy). The 1-year
recurrence rate and appendectomy in the antibiotic
group was reported as 27 %. The intention-to-treat
analysis yielded a difference in treatment efficacy between
groups of −27.0 %(95%CI, −31.6 % to ∞) (P = .89). The
authors concluded that the antibiotic treatment did not
meet the pre-specified criterion for non-inferiority
compared with appendectomy [
In the recent review published in the New Engl J Med by
Flum it is stated that appendectomy should be considered
the first-line therapy in uncomplicated appendicitis and
recommended to the patient. In the patients with equivocal
clinical picture, or equivocal imaging, or in those who have
strong preferences for avoiding an operation or with major
comorbid medical problems it is reasonable to treat with
antibiotics first [
However, an interesting still not well-studied topic is
the role of spontaneous resolution of uncomplicated
appendicitis. In fact, the effect of the antibiotic treatment
could be biased due to spontaneous healing as a result
of the expectant management [
Statement 3.1: Antibiotic therapy can be successful
in selected patients with uncomplicated appendicitis
who wish to avoid surgery and accept the risk up to
38 % recurrence. (EL 1, GoR A)
Statement 3.2: Current evidence supports initial
intravenous antibiotics with subsequent conversion
to oral antibiotics. (EL2, GoR B)
Statement 3.3: In patients with normal
investigations and symptoms unlikely to be appendicitis but
which do not settle:
Cross-sectional imaging is recommended before
Laparoscopy is the surgical approach of choice
There is inadequate evidence to recommend a
routine approach at present (EL2 GoR)
Timing of appendectomy and in-hospital delay
Does in-hospital delay increase the rate of complica
tion or perforation? Is it safe to delay appendectomy?
Timing of appendectomy. (Speaker in Jerusalem CC
Dr. M.D. Kelly)
The management of most intra-abdominal acute surgical
conditions has evolved significantly over time and many
are now managed without emergency operation. Since the
1880s, when Fitz and McBurney described emergency
appendectomy, it has been the standard of care for
suspected appendicitis. This is based on the traditional
model of appendicitis where initial obstruction causes
inflammation and infection, and delay to operation allows
increasing tension in the wall with ischemia, necrosis and
perforation. This pathophysiology probably does not fit
with all cases of appendicitis, as discussed below, and
emergency operation is not always needed.
Delay to appendectomy may be needed for various
reasons, including a trial of conservative treatment with
antibiotics, diagnostic tests to confirm the clinical
diagnosis or to allow safe service provision and effective use
of resources as not all hospitals are staffed or set up for
24 h operating room availability. Whatever the cause for
delay, the real issue is if it will lead to more
complications: there are numerous studies looking at the question
of in-hospital delay and indirect evidence can be
obtained from randomised trials of antibiotics versus
surgery, however controversy persists.
A recent publication had a 27 % negative
appendectomy rate and the authors justify their low threshold
to operate by stating that it avoids perforation [
Others disagree and found that delaying surgical
intervention did not put the patient at risk and may
have actually improved patient outcomes [
current diversity in practice appears to be caused by
lack of high-level evidence although this is beginning
to change. It should be noted that the danger of
perforation is possibly overstated and that negative
exploration is not benign [
Conservative management decreases the number of
negative explorations and saves a number of patients with
resolving appendicitis from an unnecessary operation.
Andersson has shown that this leads to a high proportion
of perforations among the operated patients but the
number of perforations is not increased. The perforation rate,
therefore, should not be used as a quality measure of the
management of patients with suspected appendicitis [
He also notes that the increasing proportion of
perforations over time is explained by an increase in the number
of perforations according to the traditional model and
mainly by selection due to resolution of non-perforated
appendicitis according to the alternative model. According
to the second model, only a few perforations can be
prevented by a speedy operation after the patients have
arrived at the hospital. Neither of these models can be
proved, but the second model is more consistent with the
available data [
Similarly, others have found that the trends for
nonperforating and perforating appendicitis radically differ
and it is unlikely that perforated appendicitis is simply
the progression of appendicitis resulting from delayed
There are numerous retrospective single institution
reviews with contradictory results.
Teixeira et al. found only increased rates of surgical
site infection. They studied 4529 patients who were
admitted with appendicitis over 8 years and 4108
(91 %) patients underwent appendectomy with
perforation found in 942 (23 %). There were three
independent predictors of perforation: age > 55 years,
WBC count >16,000 and female sex, but delay to
appendectomy was not associated with higher
perforation rate [
]. However, Ditillo et al. found that
increased patient and hospital intervals to operation
were associated with advanced pathology, although
patient delay was more significant. The risk of
developing advanced pathology increased with time and it
was associated with longer length of hospital stay and
antibiotic treatment as well as postoperative
In a large retrospective cohort study of 32,782 patients
who underwent appendectomy for acute appendicitis
(available through the American College of Surgeons
National Quality Improvement Program), 75 % of patients
underwent operation within 6 h, 15 % between 6 and 12 h
and 10 % of patients experienced a delay of more than
12 h (mean 26.07 h (SD 132.62)). The patient
characteristics were similar in all three groups. No clinically
significant difference was found in outcome measures, including
overall morbidity and serious morbidity or mortality. The
authors concluded that the results did not change when
disease severity was excluded from the model suggesting
that there is no relationship between time from surgical
admission and negative outcomes after appendectomy
Busch et al. reported a prospective multicentre
observational study on whether in-hospital delay negatively
influences outcome after appendectomy. In-hospital delay
of more than 12 h, age over 65 years, time of admission
during regular hours, and the presence of co-morbidity
are all independent risk factors for perforation. Perforation
was associated with a higher re-intervention rate and
increased hospital length of stay. They concluded that in
elderly patients with co-morbidity and suspected
appendicitis, a delay of surgery of more than 12 h should be
As can be seen, the evidence is conflicting but recently
higher level evidence has become available in the study by
Bhangu et al. This was a prospective, multicentre cohort
study of 2510 patients with acute appendicitis, of whom
812 (32.4 %) had complex findings. They found that
timing of operation was not related to risk of complex
appendicitis. At 12–24 h, the odds ratio (OR) was 0.98
(P = 0.869), 24–48 h OR 0.88 (P = 0.329) and 48+ hours
OR 0.82 (P = 0.317). After 48 h, the risk of surgical site
infection and 30-day adverse events both increased
[adjusted ORs 2.24 (P = 0.039) and 1.71 (P = 0.024),
respectively]. They also did a meta-analysis of 11
nonrandomized studies (8858 patients) which showed that a delay of
12 to 24 h after admission did not increase the risk of
complex appendicitis (OR 0.97, P = 0.750) [
In some jurisdictions, after hours surgery (especially
night time surgery) is restricted to life or limb-threatening
conditions as not all hospitals are staffed or equipped for
safe 24-h operating room availability. In addition,
especially in state funded health systems, where all expenditure
has to be based on evidence, it is hard to justify after hours
surgery for uncomplicated appendicitis.
There are now many randomised studies of initial
antibiotic treatment for appendicitis. While not
designed to look at delay to operation, they give indirect
evidence of its safety in patients with uncomplicated
2, 71, 80
In summary, in the absence of level 1 evidence, the
question of whether in-hospital delay is safe and not
associated with more perforations cannot be answered
with certainty. What can be said is that in most cases of
uncomplicated appendicitis emergency operation is not
necessary and a short delay of up to 12–24 h is not likely
to be associated with a poorer outcome. However, delays
should be minimised wherever possible to relieve pain,
to enable quicker recovery and decrease costs.
Statement 4.1 Short, in-hospital surgical delay up
to 12/24 h is safe in uncomplicated acute
appendicitis and does not increase complications and/or
perforation rate. (EL 2, GoR B)]
Statement 4.2 Surgery for uncomplicated appendicitis
can be planned for next available list minimizing delay
wherever possible (patient comfort etc.). (EL 2, GoR B)
– Open or Laparoscopic?
– Lavage or Aspiration of pus?
– Mesoappendix dissection: endoclip, endoloop,
electrocoagulation, Harmonic Scalpel or LigaSure?
– Stump Closure: Stapler or endoloop? Ligation or
invagination of the stump?
– Primary or secondary closure of the wound?
(Speaker in Jerusalem CC Dr. S. Di Saverio)
The most recent meta-analysis reported that the
laparoscopic approach of appendicitis is often associated with
longer operative times and higher operative costs, but it
leads to less postoperative pain, shorter length of stay
(LOS) and earlier return to work and physical activity [
therefore lowering overall hospital and social costs [
improved cosmesis, significantly fewer complications in
terms of wound infection. A trend towards higher
incidence of intra-abdominal infection (IAA) and organ space
collections was seen [
], although this effect seems
decreased or even inverted in the last decade [
] and in
more recent randomised controlled trials (RCTs), being
probably related to surgical expertise [
According to Sauerland et al., wound infections are
less likely after laparoscopic appendectomy (LA) than
after open appendectomy (OA) (OR 0.43; CI 0.34 to
0.54), pain on day 1 after surgery is reduced after LA by
8 mm (CI 5 to 11 mm) on a 100 mm visual analogue
scale, hospital stay was shortened by 1.1 day (CI 0.7 to
1.5), return to normal activity, work, and sport occurred
earlier after LA than after OA. However, as we said, the
incidence of IAA is increased (OR 1.87; CI 1.19 to 2.93).
In addition, the operation time is 10 min (CI 6 to 15)
longer and more expensive. Seven studies on children
were included, but the results do not seem to be much
different when compared to adults. Diagnostic
laparoscopy reduces the risk of a negative appendectomy, but
this effect was stronger in fertile women (RR 0.20; CI
0.11 to 0.34) as compared to unselected adults. The
authors conclude the in those clinical settings where
surgical expertise and equipment are available and
affordable, diagnostic laparoscopy and LA (either in
combination or separately) seem to have numerous
advantages over OA [
The overview by Jaschinski et al. included nine
systematic reviews. The duration of surgery pooled by
eight reviews was 7.6 to 18.3 min shorter using the
open approach and the risk of abdominal abscesses
was higher for laparoscopic surgery in half of six
meta-analyses. The laparoscopic approach shortened
hospital stay from 0.16 to 1.13 days in seven out of
eight meta-analyses, pain scores on the first
postoperative day were lower after LA in two out of three
reviews and the occurrence of wound infections
pooled by all reviews was lower after LA. One review
showed no difference in mortality [
Although LA is extremely useful especially as a
diagnostic tool in fertile women, in can be used also
in male patients, even if advantages over OA in this
group are not clearly demonstrated [
Recent database studies on more than 250,000 patients
aged > 65 years entail improved clinical outcomes for
laparoscopic appendectomy compared with OA [
terms of length of stay (LOS), mortality and overall
morbidity. Patients older than 65 years, patients with
] and with complicated appendicitis
] seem to benefit more from the laparoscopic approach,
particularly in terms of hospital costs and reduced LOS
but also for decreased postoperative mortality and overall
A meta-analysis of prospective and retrospective
comparative series evidences superiority of LA vs. OA also in
obese (BMI >30) patients [
]. Dasari et al. reported the
same encouraging results also in a recent Systematic
Despite evidence which considers LA safe in pregnancy
], advantages are minor (less pain, less infections, less
early deliveries) if compared to the risk of fetal loss; more
recent data from EL 2 reviews of comparative studies (599
LA vs. 2816 OA) show an increased fetal loss for LA,
without significant advantages [
]; a database study on
859 pregnant women with appendicitis confirms a better
outcome for those treated surgically vs. non-operative
management, while it did find no difference in maternal
complications between LA and OA [
]. While fetal
events are unknown, LA in pregnant patients
demonstrated shorter OR times, LOS, and reduced complications
and were performed more frequently over time. Even in
perforated cases, laparoscopy appears safe in pregnant
]. In conclusion, there is no strong current
evidence as to the preferred modality of appendectomy,
open or laparoscopic, during pregnancy from the prospect
of foetal or maternal safety. However, low grade evidence
shows that laparoscopic appendectomy during pregnancy
might be associated with higher rates of foetal loss [
The literature does not clearly define the balance between
advantages and disadvantages in this particular setting and
the choice of the approach should be taken by the
attending surgeon after a thorough discussion with the patient,
balancing the advantages of laparoscopy vs. the theoretical
risk of fetal loss and making clear the current lack of
literature defining balance between advantages and
disadvantages of laparoscopic appendectomy in pregnancy.
A recent systematic review including more than 100.000
appendectomies in children found that laparoscopic
appendectomy in uncomplicated acute appendicitis is
associated with a reduced hospital stay (weighted mean
difference 0–1.18; 95 % CI0 − 1.61 to −0.74; P < 0.05), but
broad equivalence in postoperative morbidity when
compared with the conventional approach. On the other hand,
in cases of complicated acute appendicitis, although the
overall morbidity is reduced (pooled odds ratio [POR] =
0.53; P < 0.05), wound infections (POR = 0.42; P < 0.05),
length of hospital stay (WMD = −0.67; P < 0.05), and
bowel obstruction episodes (POR = 0.8; P < 0.05), in the
laparoscopic group the risk of intra-abdominal abscess is
Complicated appendicitis can be approached
laparoscopically by experienced surgeons [
significant advantages, including lower overall complications,
readmission rate, small bowel obstruction rate, infections
of the surgical site (minor advantage following Clavien's
criteria) and faster recovery [
89, 101, 102
]. Regarding the
costs, LA for complicated appendicitis can be performed
with low cost equipment, allowing significantly lower
overall costs (operative plus LOS) compared to open
Laparoscopic appendectomy should represent the
first choice where laparoscopic equipment and skills
are available, since it offers clear advantages in terms
of less pain, lower incidence of SSI, decreased LOS,
earlier return to work and overall costs. (EL 1, GoR A)
Laparoscopy offers clear advantages and should be
preferred in obese patients, older patients and
patients with comorbidities. (EL 2, GoR B)
Laparoscopy is feasible and safe in young male
patients although no clear advantages can be
demonstrated in such patients. (EL 2, GoR B)
Laparoscopy should not be considered as a first
choice over open appendectomy in pregnant
patients. (EL 1, GoR B)
No major benefits have also been observed in
laparoscopic appendectomy in children, but it reduces
hospital stay and overall morbidity. (EL 1, GoR A)
In experienced hands, laparoscopy is more
beneficial and cost-effective than open surgery for
complicated appendicitis. (EL 3, GoR B)
Peritoneal lavage and aspiration have been suggested
by a low-powered study to be detrimental, but these
conclusions are based on low-volume lavage and small
]; a definitive conclusion cannot be drawn,
even though a LE 2 study in children [
] has not
demonstrated advantages in terms of intra-abdominal
abscesses (IAA) of >500 ml, although >6–8lt are needed
to significantly lower the bacterial load [
Peritoneal irrigation is a practice traditionally used in
case of localized or diffuse peritonitis and considered
beneficial. However, either in the past decades for open
appendectomy or in the latest years for laparoscopic
appendectomy, many others argued the efficacy of
irrigation for cleansing purposes. The most recent
studies, retrospective [
] or RCTs, in laparoscopic or
open appendectomy [
], did not show any advantages
in favour of intraoperative irrigation for prevention of
postoperative IAA. Instead, irrigation usually adds some
extra-time to the overall duration of surgery [
Nonetheless, a non-significant trend to leave a drain
when irrigation is not used can be noticed (52 % in the
group of suction only vs. 40 % in the irrigation group).
Furthermore, practice patterns may vary widely with
regard to the amount and extent of irrigation and
probably the common sense would suggest to avoid copious
irrigation before achieving a careful suction first from
every quadrant having purulent collections and to wash
using small amounts of saline and repeated suction in
order to avoid diffuse spreading of the infected matter
into the remaining abdominal cavity, without forgetting
to suck out as much as possible of the lavage fluid [
Peritoneal irrigation does not have any advantages
over suction alone in complicated appendicitis. (EL2,
Simplified and cost effective techniques for LA have
been described [
]. They use either two endoloops,
securing the blood supply, or a small number of
endoclips, appearing to be really useful in case of mobile
cecum avoiding the need of an additional port. In
addition, potential hazards of diathermy are avoided,
the appendicular artery can be ligated under direct
vision, and smoke is not created [
]. With clips,
anonabsorbable foreign body is left in the peritoneal cavity
and may slip or become detached. Moreover, it requires
more experience especially in case of inflamed appendix
with the risk of bleeding [
In case of inflamed and oedematous mesoappendix it
has been suggested the use of LigaSure™, especially in
case of gangrenous tissue [
]. No significant
hospital stay and complication rates were found between
endoclip and LigaSure™. On the other hand, significant
differences are present in surgical time and conversion
to open rate . Despite the potential advantages,
Ligasure™ represents a high cost option and it may be
logical using endoclip if the mesoappendix is not
]. Diamantis et al. compared
Ligasure™ and Harmonic Scalpel with monopolar
electrocoagulation and bipolar coagulation: the first two
caused more minimal thermal injury of the surrounding
tissue than other techniques [
]. Between monopolar
electrocoagulation, endoclip and Harmonic Scalpel no
clinically significant differences were found in surgical
time. All three methods gave acceptable complication
rates. Because monopolar electrocoagulation requires
no additional instruments, it may be the most
costeffective method for mesoappendix dissection in LA
]. However, the need of evacuate of the smoke could
affect the pneumoperitoneum [
There are no clinical differences in outcomes,
LOS and complications rates between the
different techniques described for mesentery dissection
(monopolar electrocoagulation, bipolar energy,
metal clips, endoloops, Ligasure, Harmonic
Scalpel etc.). (EL3, GoR B)
Monopolar electrocoagulation and bipolar energy
are the most cost-effective techniques, even if
more experience and technical skillsis required to
avoid potential complications (e.g. bleeding) and
thermal injuries. (EL3, GoR B)
As for appendicular stump closure, stapler reduces
operative time and superficial wound infections [
higher costs (6 to 12 fold) and no significant differences
in IAA [
], suggest the preference of loop-closure. In
perforated appendicitis the issue of using endoloops or
stapler for appendicular stump closure needs further
The stump closure may vary widely in practice and
the associated costs can be significant. Whilst earlier
studies initially reported advantages with routine use
of endostaplers in terms of complication and
operative times [
], more recent studies have repeatedly
demonstrated no differences in intra- or
postoperative complications incidence between either
endostapler or endoloops stump closure [
Although operative times maybe longer (but it is
probably biased by the learning curve) [
operative costs were invariably and significantly lower
when endoloops are used [
]. A metanalysis
confirmed that use of endo-loop to secure the
appendicular stump during LA takes longer than
endoGIA but it is associated with equal hospital stay,
perioperative complication rate, and incidence of
intra-abdominal abscess . Endoloops were at
least as safe and effective as endostapler also in
paediatric population, without stump leaks nor differences
in SSI and IAA in the group of non perforated
appendicitis, whereas for perforated appendicitis, endoloops were
perhaps safer than endostapler (IAA incidence 12.7 % vs.
50 %, OR 7.09) [
Many studies compared the simple ligation and the
stump inversion and no significant differences were
There are no clinical advantages in the use of
endostapler over endoloops for stump closure for both
adults and children. (EL 1, GoR A)
Endoloops might be preferred for lowering the costs
when appropriate skills/learning curve are available.
(EL 3, GoR B)
Statement 5.4.3: There are no advantages of stump
inversion over simple ligation, either in open or
laparoscopic surgery. (EL 2, GoR B)
Routine drainage has not proven its utility, with the
exception of generalized peritonitis, and seems to cause
more complications, LOS and transit recovery time
], despite the widespread opinion that aspiration of
the residual fluid after peritoneal lavage in the first 24 h
postoperatively might lower the incidence of IAA in case
of insufficient lavage [
The practice of leaving intra-abdominal drains is also
widely used when complicated/perforated appendicitis is
found. Mostly from paediatric experiences, it seems that
the use of drainage and irrigation is associated with
significantly longer operative times and LOS, without a
decrease in post-operative infectious complications
(instead a non-significant trend to more frequent wound
infection and dehiscence, more IAA and longer
postoperative ileus) [
Previous studies in children with perforated appendicitis
have already reported a significantly lower incidence of
SSI and IAA and better postoperative course in the group
treated without peritoneal drainage [
This year, the meta-analyses by Cheng et al.
included five trials involving 453 patients with
complicated appendicitis who were randomised to the
drainage group (n = 228) and the no drainage group
(n = 225) after emergency open appendectomies and
found no significant differences between the two
groups in the rates of intra-peritoneal abscess or
wound infection. The hospital stay was longer in the
drainage group than in the no drainage group (MD
2.04 days; 95 % CI 1.46 to 2.62) (34.4 % increase of
an 'average' hospital stay) [
Drains are not recommended in complicated
appendicitis in paediatric patients. (EL3, GoR B)
In adult patients, drain after appendectomy for
perforated appendicitis and abscess/peritonitis should be
used with judicious caution, given the absence of good
evidence from the literature. Drains did not prove any
efficacy in preventing intra-abdominal abscess and
seem to be associated with delayed hospital discharge.
(EL1, GoR A)
In the most recent metanalysis investigating the
advantages of delayed primary wound closure (DPC) vs.
primary closure (PC) in contaminated abdominal
operations DPC had a significantly longer length of stay than
PC (1.6 days, 95 % CI: 1.41, 1.79). Two meta-analysis
failed to prove the superiority of delayed primary skin
closure in significantly reducing SSI (odds ratio 0.65;
95 % CI, 0.25–1.64; P = .36) [
] (risk ratio 0.89; 95 %
CI: 0.46, 1.73) [
]. Similar result were achieved also in
the paediatric population [
]. In addition, there is no
evidence for any short-term or long-term advantage in
peritoneal closure for non-obstetric operations [
Delayed primary skin closure does not seem beneficial
for reducing the risk of SSI and increase LOS in open
appendectomies with contaminated/dirty wounds. (EL1,
Scoring systems for intra-operative grading of appendicitis and their clinical usefulness
What are the histopathological criteria for
appendicitis of clinical importance? Minor
inflammatory changes, early appendicitis, catarrhal
appendicitis. The criteria used will have an influence
on the proportion of negative appendectomy, and also
on evaluation of diagnostic performance. (Speaker in
Jerusalem CC Dr. C. A. Gomes)
The systematic review by Swank et al. reported the
incidence of unexpected findings in the histopathological
examination of the surgical specimen after
appendectomy as 0.5 % of benign neoplasm, 0.2 % of malignant
neoplasms, 0–19 % of parasitic infection, endometriosis
in 0 % and granulomatosis in 0–11 % of cases. Most
patients with malignant neoplasms, parasite infection
and granulomatosis underwent additional investigation
or treatment [
Apart from the unexpected findings, there is a lack
of validated system for histological classification of
acute appendicitis and controversies exist on this
topic. The paper by Carr proposes basic and classical
but practical findings about the histological diagnosis
of acute appendicitis. The author assesses three
important disease aspects: appendix gross appearance,
microscopic findings and clinical significance. The
most important concept in the diagnosis of acute
appendicitis is the transmural inflammation.
“Endoappendicitis” is a histological finding, but its clinical
significance is not clear. The term “periappendicitis”
refers to inflammation outside the appendix and its
most common causes are gynaecological disorders like
salpingitis and pelvic peritonitis [
The issue of the removal indication in case of
“normal-looking” appendices is still under debate and
there are conflicting studies showing the pros and cons
of the appendectomy. According to the retrospective
study by Grimes et al., including 203 appendectomies
performed with normal histology, appendicular faecaliths
may be a cause of right iliac fossa pain in the absence of
obvious appendicular inflammation. In this study, the
policy of routine removal of a normal-looking appendix
at laparoscopy in the absence of any other obvious
pathology appeared to be an effective treatment for
recurrent symptoms in those cases with a faecalith [
The study by Van den Broek et al. concluded that it
is safe to leave a normal looking appendix in place
when a diagnostic laparoscopy for suspected
appendicitis is performed, even if another diagnosis cannot be
found at laparoscopy [
]. On the other hand, in the
retrospective study by Phillips et al., almost one-third
of apparently normal appendices being inflamed
histologically. For this reason the authors would advocate
the removal of a normal looking appendix in the
absence of other explanatory pathology [
Lee et al. compared the postoperative complications
after removal of an inflamed or non-inflamed
appendix and found no difference between the two
groups. The authors conclude that negative
appendectomy should not be undertaken routinely during
laparoscopy for right iliac fossa pain [
]. In the
Multicentre Appendectomy Audit by Strong et al., 138
out of 496 specimens (27.8 %) judged as normal by the
operating surgeon were found to be inflamed at the
histopathological assessment [
In order to evaluate the appendix during diagnostic
laparoscopy, in 2013 Hamminga et al. proposed the
LAPP (Laparoscopic APPpendicitis) score (six criteria),
with a single-centre prospective pilot study (134
patients), reporting high positive and negative predictive
values, 99 and 100 %, respectively. However, the
score still needs to be validated within a multicentre
In 2014 also the AAST proposed a system for
grading severity of emergency general surgery diseases
based on several criteria encompassing clinical,
imaging, endoscopic, operative, and pathologic
findings, for eight commonly encountered gastrointestinal
conditions, including acute appendicitis, ranging from
Grade I (mild) to Grade V (severe) [
In the recent multicentre cohort study by Strong et
al. involving 3138 patients from five centres, the
overall disagreement between the surgeon and the
pathologist was reported in 12.5 % of cases (moderate
reliability, k 0.571). In particular, 27.8 % of appendices
assessed as normal by the surgeon revealed a
pathology at histopathological assessment, while in 9.6 %
of macroscopically appearing inflamed appendicitis
revealed to be normal. Interestingly, the surgeon’s
experience did not affect the disagreement rate. These
findings suggest that surgeons' judgements of the
intra-operative macroscopic appearance of the
appendix is inaccurate and does not improve with seniority
and therefore supports removal at the time of surgery
]. Nonetheless, the clinical significance of these
early and/or mild forms of microscopic appendicitis is
still unclear at present.
The prospective study by Gomes et al. enrolled 186
patients with presumed acute appendicitis underwent
appendectomy if diagnostic laparoscopy showed
appendicitis or normal-looking appendix without any
other intra-abdominal disease. The appendix was
graded by the surgeon upon its visual appearance:
grade 0 (normal looking), 1 (redness and oedema), 2
(fibrin), 3A (segmental necrosis), 3B (base necrosis),
4A (abscess), 4B (regional peritonitis), and 5 (diffuse
peritonitis). This was then compared with a
biochemical-histologic assessment of the removed
appendix. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of
the laparoscopic grading system were 63, 83.3, and
80.1 %, respectively, and presented moderate
concordance [k = 0.39 (95 % confidence interval, 0.23–0.55)].
The biochemical-histological diagnosis changed for 48
(25.8 %) patients who had been previously classified
by surgeons during laparoscopy. Most incorrect
grading occurred in grades 0 and 1 appendicitis [
The Gomes intraoperative grading score system is
able to distinguish complicated appendicitis from
uncomplicated cases has been externally validated [
and may be useful for guiding postoperative
management (e.g. use of antibiotics, antibiotic duration, LOS)
and comparing therapeutic outcomes [
Statement 6.1: The incidence of unexpected
findings in appendectomy specimens is low but the
intra-operative diagnosis alone is insufficient for
identifying unexpected disease. From the current
available evidence, routine histopathology is
necessary. (EL 2, GoR B)
Statement 6.2: There is a lack of validated system
for histological classification of acute appendicitis
and controversies exist on this topic. (EL 4, GoR C)
Statement 6.3: Surgeon’s macroscopic judgement of
early grades of acute appendicitis is inaccurate. (EL
2, GoR B)
Statement 6.4: If the appendix looks “normal”
during surgery and no other disease is found in
symptomatic patient, we recommend removal in
any case. (EL 4, GoR C)
Statement 6.5: We recommend adoption of a
grading system for acute appendicitis based on clinical,
imaging and operative findings, which can allow
identification of homogeneous groups of patients,
determining optimal grade disease management and
comparing therapeutic modalities. (EL 2, GoR B)
Non-surgical treatment for complicated appendicitis: abscess or phlegmone
Role of percutaneous drainage and Interval
Appendectomy or immediate surgery. (Speaker in
Jerusalem CC Dr. M. De Moya)
The study with highest level of evidence about the
conservative treatment of complicated appendicitis
with abscess or phlegmon is the meta-analysis by
Simillis et al., published in 2010. It included 17
studies (16 nonrandomized retrospective and one
nonrandomized prospective) for a total of 1572 patients
(847 treated with conservative treatment and 725 with
appendectomy). Data revealed that conservative
treatment was associated with significantly less overall
complications (wound infections, abdominal/pelvic
abscesses, ileus/bowel obstructions, and re-operations) if
compared to immediate appendectomy. No significant
difference was found in the duration of the first
hospitalization, the overall hospital stay and the
duration of intravenous antibiotics [
On the other hand, the recent randomized
controlled trial by Mentula et al. compared the results
from 60 patients with appendicular abscess treated
either with immediate laparoscopic surgery (30
patients) or with conservative treatment (30 patients).
The results showed that there was no difference in
hospital stay between the two groups. In the
laparoscopy group there were significantly fewer unplanned
readmissions (3 % versus 27 %, P = 0.026), even if this
group had 10 % risk for bowel resection and 13 %
risk for incomplete appendectomy. The conservative
group, instead, required more additional interventions
(surgery or percutaneous drainage) (30 % versus 7 %,
P = 0.042). Open surgery was required in three (10 %)
patients in the laparoscopy group and in four (13 %)
patients in the conservative group. The rate of
uneventful recovery was 90 % in the laparoscopy group
versus 50 % in the conservative group (P = 0.002).
These data brought to the conclusion that several
factors support the use of immediate surgery in patients
with appendicular abscess [
]. However, it should
be highlighted that laparoscopic appendectomy as
first line approach, is a feasible and safe alternative to
non-operative management +/− percutaneous drain
only in presence of specific laparoscopic experience
and advanced skills [
In the systematic review and meta-analysis by
Andersson et al., including 61 studies (mainly
retrospective studies, three randomized controlled trials),
immediate surgery was associated with a higher
morbidity if compared with conservative treatment (OR
3.3; CI: 1.9–5.6; P < 0.001), while the non-surgical
treatment of appendicular abscess or phlegmon has
been reported to succeed in over 90 % of patients, with an
overall risk of recurrence of 7.4 % (CI: 3.7–11.1) and only
19.7 % of cases of abscess percutaneous drainage [
Other single-centre studies including complicated
appendicitis reported higher rates of recurrence after
nonsurgical treatment of 14 % after 2 years [
], 27 % within
2 months [
], up to 38 % after 12 months [
]. In order
to avoid this quite high chance of recurrence, some
authors recommend routine elective interval
appendectomy following the conservative management.
However, this procedure is associated with morbidity
in 12.4 % of patients (CI 0.3–24.5) [
systematic review by Hall et al. included three retrospective
studies for a total of 127 cases of non-surgical
treatment of appendix mass in children: after successful
non-operative treatment, the risk of recurrent
appendicitis was found to be 20.5 % (95 % confidence
interval [CI], 14.3 %–28.4 %). However, this means
that 80 % of children may not need interval
appendectomy. In addition, the results showed 0.9 % of
carcinoid tumor (95 % CI, 0.5–1.8) and 3.4 % of
complications after interval appendectomy (95 % CI,
2.2–5.1). Overall, the complications reported included
wound infection, prolonged postoperative ileus,
hematoma formation, and small bowel obstruction,
but the incidence of any individual complication was
not determined [
Because of its consistent morbidity, after successful
conservative management, the routine indication to
interval appendectomy is justified only in case of
persistent or recurrent symptoms, and should be avoided
in asymptomatic patients [
]. Some authors
recommend routine interval appendectomy, not to avoid the
risk of recurrence, but to rule out possible
appendicular neoplasia. In the retrospective study by
Carpenter et al., including 315 patients with AA, 18
out of 24 patients with complicated appendicitis
(7.6 % of the total series) that were treated
conservatively, underwent interval appendectomy. The
incidence of neoplasms was significantly higher in the
patients underwent interval appendectomy than in the
immediate appendectomy group (five patients, 28 %
vs. three patients, 1 % P < 0.0001). Appendicular or
colonic neoplasms should be investigated after
nonoperative management of AA, especially in patients
older than 40 years [
Statement 7.1: Percutaneous drainage of a
periappendicular abscess, if accessible, is an appropriate
treatment in addition to antibiotics for complicated
appendicitis. (EL 2, GOR B)
Statement 7.2: Non-operative management is a
reasonable first line treatment for appendicitis with
phlegmon or abscess. (EL 1, GOR A)
Statement 7.3: Operative management of acute
appendicitis with phlegmon or abscess is a safe
alternative to non-operative management in experienced
hands. (EL 2, LOR B)
Statement 7.4: Interval appendectomy is not
routinely recommended both in adults and children. (EL
1, LOR A)
Statement 7.5: Interval appendectomy is
recommended for those patients with recurrent symptoms.
(EL 2, LOR B)
Statement 7.6: Colonic screening should be
performed in those patients with appendicitis treated
non-operatively if >40y/o. (EL 3, LoR C)
Preoperative and postoperative antibiotics
Should Preoperative antibiotics prophylaxis be given?
What antibiotics? When should postoperative antibiotics be given? What antibiotics? Duration? (Speaker in Jerusalem CC Dr. M. Sartelli)
In the last years use of antibiotics in patients
undergoing appendectomy has been debated [
In 2005 a Cochrane meta-analysis supported that
broadspectrum antibiotics given preoperatively are effective in
decreasing wound infection and abscesses. Randomised
Controlled Trials (RCTs) and Controlled Clinical Trials
(CCTs) in which any antibiotic regime were compared to
placebo in patients suspected of having appendicitis, and
undergoing appendectomy were analysed. Forty-five
studies including 9576 patients were included in this review.
Antibiotics were superior to placebo for preventing wound
infection and intra-abdominal abscess, with no apparent
difference in the nature of the removed appendix [
In 2005 a randomized controlled trial on 269 patients,
aged 15–70 years, with non-perforated appendicitis
undergoing open appendectomy was published. 92 patients
received single dose preoperative (group A), 94 received
three-dose (group B) and 83 received 5-day perioperative
(group C) regimens of cefuroxime and metronidazole.
The rate of postoperative infective complication was not
significantly different among the groups (6.5 % group A,
6.4 % group B, 3.6 % group C). The duration of antibiotic
therapy had no significant effect on the length of hospital
stay. Complications related to antibiotic treatment were
significantly more common for 5-day perioperative
antibiotic group (C) compared with single dose preoperative
antibiotic group (A) (P = 0.048) [
Some prospective trials demonstrated that patients with
perforated appendicitis should have postoperative
antibiotic treatment [
]. The major pathogens involved
in community-acquired appendicitis are
Enterobacteriaceae, Streptococcus species, and anaerobes (especially B.
In 2013 the World Society of Emergency Surgery
published their guidelines for management of
intraabdominal infections (IAIs) stratifying the
antimicrobial regimen according to patient’s condition (Sepsis
Vs. severe sepsis and septic shock), the pathogens
presumed to be involved, and the risk factors
indicative of major resistance patterns [
Many studies compared duration of antibiotic regimens
for perforated appendicitis and they showed a variation in
the duration of treatment [
154, 155, 158
In 2000 Taylor et al. published a prospective trial
comparing a minimum IV 5-days antibiotic regimen versus no
minimum IV regimen. Infectious complications were not
statistically different between the two groups. Average
hospital stay was also not statistically different between the
two groups. The study demonstrated that an antimicrobial
regimen with no minimum IV antibiotic requirement in
patients with complicated appendicitis did not increase
morbidity. Furthermore, the protocol arm with no
minimum IV antibiotic requirement led to less IV antibiotic use
but did not significantly decrease hospital stay [
Recently, a prospective randomized trial on 518
patients with complicated intra-abdominal infection,
including also complicated appendicitis, undergoing
adequate source control demonstrated the outcomes
after fixed-duration antibiotic therapy (approximately
4 days) were similar to those after a longer course
of antibiotics (approximately 8 days) that extended
until after the resolution of physiological
Although discontinuation of antimicrobial treatment
should be based on clinical and laboratory criteria, a period
of 3–5 days for adult patients is generally sufficient to treat
complicated acute appendicitis.
Statement 8.1: In patients with acute appendicitis
preoperative broad-spectrum antibiotics are always
recommended. (EL 1, GoR A)
Statement 8.2: For patients with uncomplicated
appendicitis, post-operative antibiotics are not
recommended .(EL 2, GoR B)
Statement 8.3: In patients with complicated acute
appendicitis, postoperative, broad-spectrum
antibiotics are always recommended. (EL 2, GoR B)
Statement 8.4: Although discontinuation of
antimicrobial treatment should be based on clinical and
laboratory criteria such as fever and leucocytosis, a
period of 3–5 days for adult patients is generally
recommended. (EL 2, GoR B)
The current evidence-based Guidelines represent to
the best of our knowledge, the first international
Comprehensive Clinical Guidelines for diagnosis and
management of Acute Appendicitis. During the 3rd
World Congress of the WSES, held in Jerusalem
(Israel) in July 2015, a panel of experts including an
Organizational Committee and Scientific Committee
and Scientific Secretariat, participated to a Consensus
Conference where eight panelists (SDS, MDK, FC,
DW, MiSu, MaSa, MDM, CAG) presented a number
of statements, which were developed for each of the
eight main questions about diagnosis and
management of AA (Appendix). The statements were then
voted, eventually modified and finally approved by the
participants to The Consensus Conference and
subsequently by the board of co-authors. The current
paper is reporting the definitive Guidelines
Statements and Clinical Recommendations on each of the
following topics: 1) Diagnostic efficiency of clinical
scoring systems, 2) Role of Imaging, 3) Non-operative
treatment for uncomplicated appendicitis, 4) Timing
of appendectomy and in-hospital delay, 5) Surgical
treatment 6) Scoring systems for intra-operative
grading of appendicitis and their clinical usefulness 7)
Non-surgical treatment for complicated appendicitis:
abscess or phlegmon 8) Pre-operative and
postoperative antibiotics. In summary, The Alvarado score
(with cut-off score < 5) is sufficiently sensitive to
exclude acute appendicitis, nonetheless the ideal (highly
sensitive and specific), clinically applicable, diagnostic
scoring system/clinical rule remains currently out of
reach. Imaging should be linked to Risk Stratification
such as AIR or Alvarado score, low-risk patients
being admitted to hospital and not clinically improving
or reassessed score could have appendicitis ruled in
or out by abdominal CT, in high-risk and young
preoperative imaging may be avoided, MRI is
recommended in pregnant patients with suspected
appendicitis. Regarding non-operative treatment of
AA, antibiotic therapy can be successful in selected
patients with uncomplicated appendicitis who wish to
avoid surgery and accept the risk up to 38 %
recurrence. The timing of performing an appendectomy is
a great matter of debate and our recommendations
are that a short, in-hospital surgical delay up to 12/
24 h is safe in uncomplicated acute appendicitis and
does not increase complications and/or perforation
rate, however surgery for uncomplicated appendicitis
should be planned for next available list minimizing
delay wherever possible. When analysing the surgical
treatment, laparoscopic appendectomy should
represent the first choice where laparoscopic equipment
and skills are available, since it offers clear advantages
in terms of less pain, lower incidence of SSI,
decreased LOS, earlier return to work and overall costs.
In particular, laparoscopy offers clear advantages and
should be preferred in obese patients, older patients
and patients with comorbidities. In experienced
hands, laparoscopy is more beneficial and
costeffective than open surgery for complicated
appendicitis. Laparoscopy should not be considered as a first
choice over open appendectomy in pregnant patients.
No major benefits have also been observed in
laparoscopic appendectomy in children, but it reduces
hospital stay and overall morbidity. Analysing the
technical issues in performing an appendectomy,
peritoneal irrigation does not have any advantages over
suction alone in complicated appendicitis; there are
no clinical differences in outcomes, LOS and
complications rates between the different techniques
described for mesentery dissection (monopolar
electrocoagulation, bipolar energy, metal clips,
endoloops, Ligasure, Harmonic Scalpel etc.). There are no
clinical advantages in the use of endostapler over
endoloops for stump closure for both adults and
children, but Endoloops might be preferred for lowering
the costs when appropriate skills/learning curve are
available. Finally, drains are not recommended in
complicated appendicitis in paediatric patients, in
adult patients, drain after appendectomy for
perforated appendicitis and abscess/peritonitis should be
used with judicious caution, given the absence of
good evidence from the literature. Drains did not
prove any efficacy in preventing intra-abdominal
abscesses and seem to be associated with delayed
Delayed primary skin closure does not seem
beneficial for reducing the risk of SSI and increase LOS in
open appendectomies with contaminated/dirty
wounds. When a “normal” looking appendix is found
at surgery and no other disease is found in a
symptomatic patient, we recommend its removal.
Percutaneous drainage of a periappendiceal abscess, if
accessible, is an appropriate treatment in addition to
antibiotics for complicated appendicitis. Non-operative
management is a reasonable first line treatment for
appendicitis with phlegmon or abscess. Operative
management of acute appendicitis with phlegmon or
abscess can be a safe alternative to non-operative
management but only in experienced hands. Interval
appendectomy is not routinely recommended both in
adults and children, but it can be recommended for
those patients with recurrent symptoms. Important is
to recommend colonic screening in patients >40 y/o
with appendicitis treated non-operatively. Finally, in
patients with acute appendicitis preoperative broad
spectrum antibiotics are recommended, for patients
with uncomplicated appendicitis postoperative
antibiotics are not recommended, whereas in those with
complicated acute appendicitis postoperative, broad
spectrum antibiotics are always recommended, usually
for a period of 3–5 days.
After reaching consensus on each of the above
mentioned statements proposed by every one of the
Speakers of the Panel (see Appendix), the participants
to the Consensus Conference in Jerusalem and the
Scientific Committee members, developed and shared
the WSES algorithm for diagnosis and management
of Acute Appendicits, reported in Fig. 1.
3) Nonoperative treatment for uncomplicated
4) Timing of appendectomy and in-hospital
5) Surgical treatment
LE GoR Statement
The Alvarado score (with cutoff score < 5) is sufficiently sensitive to exclude acute
The Alvarado score is not sufficiently specific in diagnosing acute appendicitis.
An ideal (high sensitivity and specificity), clinically applicable, diagnostic scoring
system/clinical rule remains outstanding. This remains an area for future research
In patients with suspected appendicitis a tailored individualised approach is
recommended, depending on disease probability, sex and age of the patient
Imaging should be linked to Risk Stratification such as AIR or Alvarado score
Low risk patients being admitted to hospital and not clinically improving or reassessed
score could have appendicitis ruled-in or out by abdominal CT
Intermediaterisk classification identifies patients likely to benefit from observation
and systematic diagnostic imaging.
Highrisk patients (younger than 60 yearsold) may not require preoperative imaging.
US Standard reporting templates for ultrasound and US three step sequential positioning
may enhance over accuracy .
MRI is recommended in pregnant patients with suspected appendicitis, if this
resource is available
Antibiotic therapy can be successful in selected patients with uncomplicated appendicitis
who wish to avoid surgery and accept the risk up to 38 % recurrence.
Current evidence supports initial intravenous antibiotics with subsequent conversion to
In patients with normal investigations and symptoms unlikely to be appendicitis but which
do not settle:
Cross-sectional imaging is recommended before surgery
Laparoscopy is the surgical approach of choice
There is inadequate evidence to recommend a routine approach at present
Short, in-hospital surgical delay up to 12/24 h is safe in uncomplicated acute
appendicitis and does not increase complications and/or perforation rate.
Surgery for uncomplicated appendicitis can be planned for next available list minimizing
delay wherever possible (patient comfort etc.).
Laparoscopic appendectomy should represent the first choice where laparoscopic
equipment and skills are available, since it offers clear advantages in terms of less pain,
lower incidence of SSI, decreased LOS, earlier return to work and overall costs.
Laparoscopy offers clear advantages and should be preferred in obese patients, older
patients and patients with comorbidities
Laparoscopy is feasible and safe in young male patients although no clear advantages
can be demonstrated in such patients.
Laparoscopy should not be considered as a first choice over open appendectomy in
No major benefits have also been observed in laparoscopic appendectomy in children, but
it reduces hospital stay and overall morbidity
In experienced hands, laparoscopy is more beneficial and cost-effective than open
surgery for complicated appendicitis
Peritoneal irrigation does not have any advantages over suction alone in complicated
There are no clinical differences in outcomes, LOS and complications rates between
the different techniques described for mesentery dissection (monopolar electrocoagulation,
bipolar energy, metal clips, endoloops, Ligasure, Harmonic Scalpel etc.).
Monopolar electrocoagulation and bipolar energy are the most cost-effective techniques,
even if more experience and technical skills is required to avoid potential complications
(e.g. bleeding) and thermal injuries.
There are no clinical advantages in the use of endostapler over endoloops for stump
closure for both adults and children
Endoloops might be preferred for lowering the costs when appropriate skills/learning
curve are available
There are no advantages of stump inversion over simple ligation, either in open or
Drains are not recommended in complicated appendicitis in paediatric patients
In adult patients, drain after appendectomy for perforated appendicitis and abscess/
peritonitis should be used with judicious caution, given the absence of good evidence
from the literature. Drains did not prove any efficacy in preventing intraabdominal
abscess and seem to be associated with delayed hospital discharge.
Delayed primary skin closure does not seem beneficial for reducing the risk of SSI and
increase LOS in open appendectomies with contaminated/dirty wounds
The incidence of unexpected findings in appendectomy specimens is low but the
intraoperative diagnosis alone is insufficient for identifying unexpected disease.
From the current available evidence, routine histopathology is necessary
There is a lack of validated system for histological classification of acute appendicitis
and controversies exist on this topic.
Surgeon’s macroscopic judgement of early grades of acute appendicitis is inaccurate
If the appendix looks “normal” during surgery and no other disease is found in
symptomatic patient, we recommend removal in any case.
We recommend adoption of a grading system for acute appendicitis based on clinical,
imaging and operative findings, which can allow identification of homogeneous groups
of patients, determining optimal grade disease management and comparing therapeutic
Percutaneous drainage of a periappendiceal abscess, if accessible, is an appropriate
treatment in addition to antibiotics for complicated appendicitis.
Nonoperative management is a reasonable first line treatment for appendicitis with
phlegmon or abscess
Operative management of acute appendicitis with phlegmon or abscess is a safe
alternative to nonoperative management in experienced hands
Interval appendectomy is not routinely recommended both in adults and children.
Interval appendectomy is recommended for those patients with recurrent symptoms.
Colonic screening should be performed in those patients with appendicitis treated
nonoperatively if >40y/o
In patients with acute appendicitis preoperative broad-spectrum antibiotics are
For patients with uncomplicated appendicitis, postoperative antibiotics are not
In patients with complicated acute appendicitis, postoperative, broad-spectrum
antibiotics are always recommended
Although discontinuation of antimicrobial treatment should be based on clinical
and laboratory criteria such as fever and leucocytosis, a period of 3–5 days for adult
patients is generally recommended
AA, acute appendicitis; AAS score, Adult Appendicitis Score; AIR, Appendicitis
Inflammatory Response Score; AS, Alvarado Score; ASA, American Society of
Anaesthesiology; CC, Consensus Conference; CCT, Controlled Clinical Trials; CT,
computed tomography; GoR, grade of recommendation; IAA, Intra-abdominal
abscess; LA, Laparoscopic Appendectomy; LoE or EL, level of evidence; LOS,
length of stay; MRI, magnetic resonance imaging; OA, open appendectomy; OC,
Organization Committee; OR, odds ratio; POR, pooled odds ratio; RCT,
randomised controlled trials; RIPASA score, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak
Saleha Appendicitis; SC, Scientific Committee; SD, standard deviation;
SS, Scientific Secretariat; SSI, surgical site infection; US, ultrasound; WSES,
World Society of Emergency Surgery; RIF, right iliac fossa
No authors received any funding resource. The paper received a WSES
Institutional waiver for this publication.
Availability of data and supporting materials
There are no individual author data that reach the criteria for availability.
The WSES president was supported by the Scientific Secretariat in establishing
the timetable of the CC and choosing the eight plus eight experts who were
asked to participate respectively to Organization Committee and Scientific
Committee: the Organization Committee had the task to support the Scientific
Secretariat in building the framework for the Consensus and to support the
Scientific Committee for the strict scientific part; the Scientific Committee
had the assignment to select the literature and to elaborate, in co-working to
Scientific Secretariat and Organization Committee, the statements. The Scientific
Secretariat supported the WSES President, establishing the agenda, choosing
the working tools and finally collaborating with Organization Committee and
Scientific Secretariat. Consequently each question was assigned to one team
consisting of one member of Organization Committee, one member of
Scientific Committee and one member of Scientific Secretariat (each
member of Scientific Secretariat covered two questions). Each team
reviewed, selected and analyzed the literature, wrote and proposed the
statement’s drafts for one of the eight questions. WSES board reviewed
the draft and made critical appraisals. All the statements were discussed
and approved during the 3rd WSES World Congress, held in Jerusalem
on 6th July 2015. The manuscript was further reviewed by Scientific Secretariat,
Organization Committee and Scientific Committee according to congress
comments and was then approved by the WSES board. SDS, AB, MDK, FC, DW,
MiSu, CAG, MDM, MaSa, RA: conception, design and coordination of the study;
data acquisition, analysis and interpretation; draft the manuscript. All authors
read and approved the final manuscript.
Component of the teams for the Consensus Conference and the WSES
President: Salomone Di Saverio
Scientific Secretariat members: Salomone Di Saverio, Arianna Birindelli, Dieter
Weber, Michael Denis Kelly, Fausto Catena, Massimo Sartelli
Organization Committee members: Salomone Di Saverio, Fausto Catena,
Micheal D. Kelly, Dieter Weber, Federico Coccolini, Massimo Sartelli, Luca
Ansaloni, Ernest E Moore, Jeffry Kashuk, Yoram Kluger
Scientific Committee members: Salomone Di Saverio, Dieter Weber, Michael
Denis Kelly, Michael Sugrue, Fausto Catena, Arianna Birindelli, Aneel Bhangu,
Kjetil Soreide, Ferdinando Agresta, Marc De Moya, Massimo Sartelli, Carlos
Augusto Gomes, Ewen Griffths, Steve De Castro, Osvaldo Chiara, Fabio
Cesare Campanile, Walt Biffl, George Velmahos, Raul Coimbra, Ari
Leppaniemi, Ernest E Moore, Roland Andersson.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Consent for publication
Ethics approval and consent to participate
1Emergency and Trauma Surgery – Maggiore Hospital, AUSL, Bologna, Italy.
2S. Orsola Malpighi University Hospital – University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
3Locum Surgeon, Acute Surgical Unit, Canberra Hospital, Canberra, ACT,
Australia. 4Emergency and Trauma Surgery Department, Maggiore Hospital of
Parma, Parma, Italy. 5Trauma and General Surgeon Royal Perth Hospital & The
University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. 6Macerata Hospital, Macerata,
Italy. 7Letterkenny Hospital, Donegal, Ireland. 8Harvard Medical School
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA. 9Department of Surgery
Hospital Universitario, Universidade General de Juiz de Fora, Juiz de Fora,
Brazil. 10Academic Department of Surgery, University Hospitals Birmingham
NHS Foundation Trust, Edgabaston, Birmingham, UK. 11General Surgery, Civil
Hospital - ULSS19, Veneto, Adria, RO, Italy. 12Denver Health System – Denver
Health Medical Center, Denver, USA. 13Department of Gastrointestinal
Surgery, Stavanger University Hospital, Stavanger, Norway. 14University
Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust Queen Elizabeth Hospital,
Birmingham, UK. 15Department of Surgery, OLVG, Amsterdam, The
Netherlands. 16Department of Surgery, University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
Israel. 17Division of General Surgery, Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa,
Israel. 18Abdominal Center, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. 19General
Surgery I, Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital, Bergamo, Italy. 20Department of
Surgery, Linkoping University, Linkoping, Sweden. 21UCSD Health System
Hillcrest Campus Department of Surgery Chief Division of Trauma, Surgical
Critical Care, Burns, and Acute Care Surgery, San Diego, CA, USA. 22Royal Free
Campus, University College London, London, UK. 23Department of Surgery,
San Giovanni Decollato Andosilla Hospital, Viterbo, Italy. 24Queen’s Medical
Center, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA. 25Niguarda Hospital, Milan,
Italy. 26University of Florida, Gainesville, USA. 27Department of Surgery,
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, UPMC-Presbyterian, Pittsburgh,
USA. 28Faculdade de Ciências Médicas (FCM) - Unicamp, Campinas, SP, Brazil.
29Alicante, Spain. 30Department of Surgery, University of Washington,
Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, WA, USA. 31St. Michael Hospital, Toronto,
Canada. 32Department of Traumatology, John Hunter Hospital and University
of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia. 33Department of Surgery, Terni
Hospital, University of Perugia, Terni, Italy. 34Trauma Surgery Unit - Maggiore
Hospital AUSL, Bologna, Italy. 35Department of Surgery, Maggiore Hospital
AUSL, Bologna, Italy. 36Catholic University, A. Gemelli University Hospital,
Rome, Italy. 37Department of Surgery, University of Catania, Catania, Italy. 38R.
Adams Cowley Trauma Center, Baltimore, MD, USA. 39Professor Emeritus
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA. 40Harvard Medical
School - Chief of Trauma, Emergency Surgery, and Surgical Critical Care,
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA.
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