• Of 522 children with acute appendicitis treated from 1978 to 1985, 170 had appendiceal perforation with peritonitis. The protocol for perforation included aggressive fluid resuscitation, preoperative triple antibiotic therapy, copious peritoneal lavage, avoidance of transperitoneal drains except those used for well-localized abscesses, delayed wound closure, and postoperative antibiotic therapy for seven to ten days. The minor complication rate was 22%; this included pleural effusion, wound infection, atelectasis, and prolonged ileus. The major complication rate was 3%; this included intra-abdominal abscess, gastrointestinal bleeding, wound dehiscence, pneumonia, and intestinal obstruction. Only four postoperative intra-abdominal abscesses occurred, in three patients. The mortality rate was zero. A comparison of this series with a similar group of 24 patients who underwent drainage showed the relative rate of abdominal abscess formation to be 1.8% (undrained) vs 12.5% (drained). We achieved our lowest rate of serious complications following surgery for pediatric perforated appendix with the use of aggressive fluid resuscitation, broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy, copious peritoneal irrigation, and delayed wound closure and without drainage.
(Arch Surg 1987;122:691-696)