Is Nonperforated Pediatric Appendicitis Still Considered a Surgical Emergency? A Survey of Pediatric Surgeons

Published:September 14, 2012DOI:



      To describe the beliefs and preferences of pediatric surgeons regarding the emergent nature of nonperforated appendicitis.


      An electronic mailing was sent to all 1052 members of the American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) inviting participation in a 26-item survey, which was administered by Survey Monkey ( Chi-square and Mann-Whitney tests were used for bivariate analysis. Spearman’s rho was used for nonparametric correlation.


      Four hundred eighty-four pediatric surgeons (46%) responded to the survey. Few respondents (4%) considered nonperforated appendicitis to be a surgical emergency. A minority (14%) would come in from home to perform an overnight appendectomy. Most (92%) believe that postponing overnight appendectomy until daytime does not result in a clinically significant increase in perforation. Respondents endorsed surgeon fatigue (56%) and limited operating room availability (56%) most often among factors that would make them more likely to postpone surgery. Sixty-eight percent reported no departmental guideline regarding delay of overnight appendectomy.


      Most pediatric surgeons in our study believe nonperforated appendicitis is not a surgical emergency and prefer to postpone overnight appendectomy.


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