Current Trends in Training in the Surgical Management of Acute Appendicitis at a Veteran Affairs Hospital

Maria Ruiz, Zain Shahid, Oswaldo Renteria, Sergio Huerta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: An open appendectomy used to be one of the most common cases performed by interns and physical exam dictated operative intervention. We hypothesized that the management of acute appendicitis has drastically changed from these previous practices. Methods: A retrospective, single institution study was performed at the VA North Texas Health Care System between July 2005 to June 2017 for all patients who underwent an appendectomy. Using postgraduate year (PGY)-level (PGY 1-3 and PGY 4-5) as a dependent variable, univariate analyses, and multiple logistic regression analyses were performed. All statistical tests were 2-sided, and the statistical significance level was set at a p ≤ 0.05. Results: Only patients with acute appendicitis were included (n = 257; male = 90.7%; age = 45.4 ± 15.6 year old; body mass index = 30.3 ± 6.3 Kg/m2). Of these, only 8 were performed by interns, 25 by PGY-2, 147 by PGY-3, 22 by PGY-4, and 55 by PGY-5. On presentation, 92.2% of patients had a computed tomography scan and 90.7% underwent a laparoscopic appendectomy. Conversion rate was 4.7%. There were 20 complications (7.8%) and length of hospital stay was 2.2±3.7 days. Comparing patients operated by senior (PGY-4 and 5) to junior (PGY-1 to -3) residents: patients were of similar age, gender, body mass index, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), and had similar WBC and blood pressure on initial presentation (all p's > 0.05); but were more likely to have diabetes mellitus, hypertension or pulmonary disease. Complication rate was the same (7.8%) for both senior and junior residents. Conclusions: At the VA North Texas Health Care System, most patients presenting with suspected appendicitis undergo a computed tomography scan. Most cases are performed laparoscopically mainly by PGY ≥ 3 residents. The rate of post-operative complications was similar between junior and senior residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Acute abdomen
  • McBurney
  • right lower quadrant pain
  • Rocky-Davis
  • There rate of complications was similar between junior and senior residents showing effective good system-based practices.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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