Oliveira K, et al. J Surg Res 2020.
BACKGROUND: Appendicitis has traditionally been treated surgically. Recently, nonoperative management is emerging as a viable alternative to the traditional operative approach. This raises the question of what are the unintended consequences of nonoperative management of appendicitis with respect to cost and patient burden.
METHODS: National Readmissions Database was queried between 2010 and 2014. Patients who were admitted with acute appendicitis between January and June of each year were identified. Patients who underwent appendectomy were compared with those treated nonoperatively. Six-month all-cause readmission rates and aggregate costs between index hospitalization and readmissions were calculated.
RESULTS: We identified 438,995 adult admissions for acute appendicitis. Most cases were managed with appendectomy (93.2%). There was a significant increase in the rate of nonoperative management, from 3.6% in 2010 to 6.8% in 2014 (P value for trend <0.01). Discharges receiving nonoperative management tended to be older and have more comorbidities. There was a 59% decreased adjusted odds of readmission within 6 mo among patients receiving appendectomy in comparison to those managed nonoperatively. Despite this, in multivariable linear regression, there was an adjusted $2900 cost increase associated with surgical management (P < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that nonoperative management is increasing. Patients treated nonoperatively may have an increased risk of readmission within 6 mo but incur a decreased average adjusted total cost. Given this, it is important that surgeons critically assess patients who are being considered for nonoperative management of appendicitis.