Effectiveness of a clinical pathway for pediatric complex appendicitis based on antibiotic stewardship principles

Megan E. Cunningham, Huirong Zhu, Connor T. Hoch, Annalyn S. DeMello, Nakada D. Gusman, Sara C. Fallon, Monica E. Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Outcomes and resource utilization were evaluated after implementing a novel complex appendicitis (CA) pathway limiting postoperative antibiotics based on clinical parameters. Methods: Children with intraoperative CA (gangrenous, perforated, or abscess) were treated with intravenous antibiotics postoperatively until clinical criteria were met, without utilizing CBC or oral antibiotics at discharge. An interrupted time series (pre-intervention, transition, post-intervention) was used to assess outcomes. Hospital length of stay (LOS) was analyzed using segmented regression. Intra-abdominal abscess and readmission rates were analyzed using non-inferiority and multivariate logistic regression. Results: Five hundred ten children were included with a median age of 10 [IQR7–12] years. There were no differences in postoperative LOS (slope − 0.008; p = 0.855), intra-abdominal abscess rate (5% vs. 8%; p = 0.135), or readmission rate (12% vs. 8%; p = 0.113) across time periods which remained true when adjusting for age, gender, and intraabdominal disease severity. Post-intervention outcomes were not inferior to pre-intervention, abscess rate (p = 0.002), or readmission rate (p < 0.001). Intraoperative findings of perforation (OR9.0; 95% CI1–71; p = 0.044) and perforation with abscess (OR18.2; 95% CI2–36; p = 0.005) were associated with a greater likelihood of postoperative abscess compared to gangrenous appendicitis. Conclusion: A CA protocol based on clinical parameters is safe and effective, resulting in similar intra-abdominal abscess and readmission rates compared to more resource-intense regimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1026-1031
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Abscess
  • Antibiotics
  • Complex appendicitis
  • Interrupted time series
  • Perforation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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