Stockholm: Antibiotics may replace invasive surgery in the treatment of acute appendicitis involving the removal of the appendix and could be just as effective, a new Swedish study suggests.
Appendicitis is a serious condition involving the appendix (a tube-shaped sac attached to and opening into the lower end of the large intestine), which becomes inflamed and painful, causing abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and fever.
Doctoral student Jeanette Hansson of Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, defended her thesis on the subject, which refers to two major clinical studies of adult patients, carried out at Sahlgrenska Hospital and Kungalv Hospital, respectively.
These studies showed that treatment with antibiotics was just as effective as surgery for the majority of acute appendicitis patients.
"Some patients are so ill that the operation is absolutely necessary, but 80 percent of those who can be treated with antibiotics recover and return to full health," said Hansson, acording to a Sahlgrenska statement.
The thesis also shows that patients who are treated with antibiotics are at lower risk of complications than those who undergo surgery.
The risk of recurrence within 12 months of treatment with antibiotics is around 10-15 percent.
Even though increased resistance to antibiotics could also affect treatment, the conclusion is that antibiotics are a viable alternative to surgery in adult patients as things stand, provided that the patient accepts the risk of recurrence.