Background: The effect of extended prophylactic antibiotic therapy on postoperative infective complications such as wound infection and intra-abdominal abscess for non-perforated appendicitis is poorly defined.
Methods: In a randomized controlled trial of 269 patients aged 15-70 years with non-perforated appendicitis undergoing open appendicectomy; 92 received single dose preoperative (group A), 94 received three-dose (group B) and 83 received 5-day perioperative (group C) regimens of cefuroxime and metronidazole. Postoperative infective complication was the primary endpoint. Secondary outcomes included length of hospital stay and complications related to antibiotic therapy.
Results: The rate of postoperative infective complication was not significantly different among the groups (6.5% group A, 6.4% group B, 3.6% group C). The duration of antibiotic therapy had no significant effect on the length of hospital stay. Complications related to antibiotic treatment were significantly more common for 5-day perioperative antibiotic group (C) compared with single dose preoperative antibiotic group (A) (P = 0.048).
Conclusion: Single dose of preoperative antibiotics is adequate for prevention of postoperative infective complications in patients with non-perforated appendicitis undergoing open appendicectomy. Prolonging the use of antibiotics can lead to unnecessary antibiotic related complications.