Pediatric Surgery International

, Volume 34, Issue 12, pp 1257–1268 | Cite as

Home intravenous versus oral antibiotics following appendectomy for perforated appendicitis in children: a randomized controlled trial

  • Michael R. Arnold
  • Blair A. Wormer
  • Angela M. Kao
  • David A. Klima
  • Paul D. Colavita
  • Graham H. Cosper
  • Brant Todd Heniford
  • Andrew M. SchulmanEmail author
Original Article



To compare the effect of home intravenous (IV) versus oral antibiotic therapy on complication rates and resource utilization following appendectomy for perforated appendicitis.


This was a randomized controlled trial of patients aged 4–17 with surgically treated perforated appendicitis from January 2011 to November 2013. Perforation was defined intraoperatively and divided into three grades: I—contained perforation, II—localized contamination to right gutter/pelvis, and III—diffuse contamination. Patients were randomized to complete a ten-day course of home antibiotic therapy with either IV ertapenem or oral amoxicillin–clavulanate. Thirty-day postoperative complication rates including abscess, readmission, wound infection, and charges were compared.


Eighty-two patients were enrolled. Forty four (54%) were randomized to the IV group and 38 (46%) to the oral group. IV patients were older (12.3 ± 3.6 versus 10.1 ± 3.6, p < 0.05) with higher BMI (20.9 ± 5.8 versus 17.9 ± 3.5, p < 0.05). There were no differences in gender, comorbidities, or perforation grade (I—20.4% vs. 26.3%, II—36.4% vs. 34.2%, III—43.2% vs. 39.5%, all p > 0.05). Comparing IV to oral, there was no difference in length of stay (4.4 ± 1.5 versus 4.4 ± 2.0 days, p > 0.05), postoperative abscess rate (11.6% vs. 8.1%, p > 0.05), or readmission rate (14.0% vs. 16.2%, p > 0.05). Hospital and outpatient charges were higher in the IV group (p < 0.0001).


Oral antibiotics had equivalent outcomes and incurred fewer charges than IV antibiotics following appendectomy for perforated appendicitis.


Perforated appendicitis Discharge antibiotics Children Pediatric Complicated appendicitis 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Dr. Heniford has prior grants and honoraria from W.L. Gore, Allergan, and Stryker. These are not relevant to this paper. All other authors have nothing to disclose.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

The following paper discusses research on human subjects, by one group practicing at two separate medical centers. Both centers’ institutional review boards approved this study. Presbyterian Healthcare IRB# 10056 and Carolinas Healthcare System IRB# 08-10-13B.

Informed consent

As a prospective randomized controlled trial, all subjects were enrolled with informed consent provided by the parents. This consent form was approved per IRB standards and approved by the above listed institutions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael R. Arnold
    • 1
  • Blair A. Wormer
    • 1
  • Angela M. Kao
    • 1
  • David A. Klima
    • 1
  • Paul D. Colavita
    • 1
  • Graham H. Cosper
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Brant Todd Heniford
    • 1
  • Andrew M. Schulman
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Levine Children’s Hospital, Carolinas Healthcare SystemCharlotteUSA
  2. 2.Hemby Children’s Hospital, Novant HealthCharlotteUSA
  3. 3.Pediatric Surgical AssociatesCharlotteUSA

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