In-hospital Surgical Delay Does Not Increase the Risk for Perforated Appendicitis in Children: A Single-center Retrospective Cohort Study

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To investigate the correlation between in-hospital surgical delay before appendectomy for suspected appendicitis and the finding of perforated appendicitis in children.


All children undergoing acute appendectomy for suspected acute appendicitis at Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden from 2006 to 2013 were reviewed for the exposure of surgical delay. Primary endpoint was the histopathologic finding of perforated appendicitis. The main explanatory variable was in-hospital surgical delay, using surgery within 12 hours as reference. Secondary endpoints were postoperative wound infection, intra-abdominal abscess, reoperation, length of hospital stay, and readmission. To adjust for selection bias, a logistic regression model was created to estimate odds ratios for the main outcome measures. Missing data were replaced using multiple imputation.


The study comprised 2756 children operated for acute appendicitis. Six hundred sixty-one (24.0%) had a histopathologic diagnosis of perforated appendicitis. In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, increased time to surgery was not associated with increased risk of histopathologic perforation. There was no association between the timing of surgery and postoperative wound infection, intra-abdominal abscess, reoperation, or readmission.


In-hospital delay of acute appendectomy in children was not associated with an increased rate of histopathologic perforation. Timing of surgery was not an independent risk factor for postoperative complications. The results were not dependent on the magnitude of the surgical delay. The findings are analogous with previous findings in adults and may aid the utilization of available hospital- and operative resources.

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