Antibiotics prove effective treatment for appendicitis, study finds

Antibiotics may be an effective treatment, alternative to surgery, for patients suffering from appendicitis, according to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Here are three things to know:

1. For the study, researchers conducted a five-year follow-up of 256 patients in Finland who were randomly selected in a previous clinical trial to receive antibiotics in place of surgery to treat uncomplicated appendicitis.

2. About 60 percent of the patients did not end up needing an appendectomy. Of the 100 patients who did receive surgery, only 70 percent needed it in the first year. None of these patients had any adverse outcomes related to delaying the operation.

3. The decision to perform surgery was left to the surgeon, which held potential to result in more operations than necessary, researchers noted.

"If I have a CT scan, and I can see that the appendicitis is uncomplicated," Dr. Paulina Salminen, a surgeon at the University of Turku in Finland and lead study author, told The New York Times. "I would discuss with the patient the possible results of antibiotic treatment alone or surgery. Then we would make a joint, unbiased decision about what would be best."

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