Antibiotics and appendicitis in the pediatric population: An American pediatric surgical association outcomes and clinical trials committee systematic review

Document Type



Paediatric Surgery


Objective: The aim of the study was to review evidence-based data regarding the use of antibiotics for the treatment of appendicitis in children.
Data source: Data were obtained from PubMed, MEDLINE, and citation review.
Study selection: We conducted a literature search using "appendicitis" combined with "antibiotics" with children as the target patient population. Studies were selected based on relevance for the following questions: (1) What perioperative antibiotics should be used for pediatric patients with nonperforated appendicitis? (2) For patients with perforated appendicitis treated with appendectomy: a. What perioperative intravenous antibiotics should be used? b. How long should perioperative intravenous antibiotics be used? c. Should oral antibiotics be used? (3) For patients with perforated appendicitis treated with initial nonoperative management, what antibiotics should be used in the initial management?
Results: Children with nonperforated appendicitis should receive preoperative, broad-spectrum antibiotics. In children with perforated appendicitis who had undergone appendectomy, intravenous antibiotic duration should be based on clinical criteria. Furthermore, broad-spectrum, single, or double agent therapy is as equally efficacious as but is more cost-effective than triple agent therapy. If intravenous antibiotics are administered for less than 5 days, oral antibiotics should be administered for a total antibiotic course of 7 days. For children with perforated appendicitis who did not initially undergo an appendectomy, the duration of broad-spectrum, intravenous antibiotics should be based on clinical symptoms.
Conclusions: Current evidence supports the use of guidelines as described above for antibiotic therapy in children with acute and perforated appendicitis.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Pediatric Surgery