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Photo by Clancy O'Dessky

A UCLA study shows selected patients with appendicitis who have outpatient antibiotic management can avoid surgery and hospitalization, it was announced Wednesday.

Dr. David Talan, professor of emergency medicine and of medicine/infectious diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is the co-principal investigator of the study that recommends the decision on how to approach an appendicitis procedure should be considered between patient and doctor.

There were 726 participants in the study who were randomly chosen to receive antibiotics and 46% were discharged from the emergency department within 24 hours. Fewer than one serious adverse effect per 100 patients were reported through the outpatient management in the week after their discharge. Additionally, it was shown to be safe in a wide range of patients, and was done in up to 90% of antibiotic-treated patients across all study sites.

Outpatient management was not associated with any more subsequent appendectomies and patients missed fewer workdays compared to those who were hospitalized.

The study is part of the Comparison of Outcomes of Antibiotic Drugs and Appendectomy (CODA) trial. Researchers examined data from 726 patients with imaging-confirmed appendicitis who were treated with antibiotics at 25 hospitals between May 1, 2016 and Feb. 28, 2020.

The study concluded outpatient management of appendicitis is safe for many people and could decrease healthcare use and costs.

The study was published in the journal JAMA Network Open and funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

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