Appendicitis in northern aboriginal children: does delay in definitive treatment affect outcome?

Alana Beres, Saleh Al-Abbad, Pramod S. Puligandla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: The treatment of northern aboriginal children (NAC) is often complicated by distance from a treating facility. We sought to compare outcomes of NAC requiring transfer with appendicitis to those who presented locally. We hypothesized that NAC with appendicitis experienced higher rates of perforation and increased length of stay (LOS). Methods: A retrospective chart review of 210 appendectomies was performed. Charts were reviewed for age, sex, weight, days of symptoms before presentation, time of transfer, leukocyte count (white blood cell count), usage of antibiotics prior to transfer, time to operation, type of procedure and findings, pathology, postoperative outcomes, and LOS. Results: Sixty-eight children were NAC, whereas 142 were local. The average transfer times for NAC was 10 hours (range, 4-20 hours). The two groups had similar ages (11.1 vs 10.7 years), time to presentation (1.64 vs 1.85 days), and LOS (2.91 vs 2.90 days). Significantly higher perforation rates (44 vs 28%; P = .02), higher white blood cell count (17.9 vs 16.0; P = .02), and longer times to operation after arrival (10.3 vs 7.0 hours; P = .0002) were noted in NAC. Postoperative complications were similar between groups. Forty-seven (69%) NAC received antibiotics prior to transfer, which did not affect rate of rupture. Conclusion: NAC with appendicitis experience longer transfer times and higher perforation rates than local children without a difference in length of stay or complications. Pretransfer antibiotics do not reduce perforation rates but may impact complications. We endorse their use if a delay in transfer is anticipated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)890-893
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2010


  • Aboriginal populations
  • Appendiceal perforation
  • Appendicitis
  • Outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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