Drain Failure in Intra-Abdominal Abscesses Associated with Appendicitis

Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2018 Apr;19(3):321-325. doi: 10.1089/sur.2017.224. Epub 2018 Feb 12.


Background: Previous studies have suggested that percutaneous drainage and interval appendectomy is an effective treatment for appendicitis with associated abscess. Few studies to date have analyzed risk factors for failed drain management. We hypothesized that older patients with more co-morbidities would be at higher risk for failing conservative treatment.

Methods: The 2010-2014 editions of the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) were queried for patients with diagnoses of peri-appendiceal abscesses. Minors and elective admissions were excluded. We identified patients who underwent percutaneous drainage and defined drain failure as undergoing a surgical operation after drainage but during the same inpatient visit to assess for factors associated with failure of drainage alone as a treatment. After univariable analysis, binomial logistic regression was used to assess for independent risk factors. Frequencies were analyzed by χ2 and continuous variables by Student's t-test.

Results: A total of 2,209 patients with appendiceal abscesses received drains; 561 patients (25.4%) failed conservative management and underwent operative intervention. On univariable analysis, patients who failed conservative management were younger, more likely to be Hispanic, have more inpatient diagnoses, and to have undergone drainage earlier in the hospital course. Multivariable regression demonstrated that the number of diagnoses, female sex, and Hispanic race were predictive of failure of drainage alone. Older age, West and Midwest census regions, and later drain placement were predictive of successful treatment with drainage alone. Failure was associated with more charges and longer hospital stay but not with a higher mortality rate.

Conclusion: Approximately a quarter of patients will fail management of appendiceal abscess with percutaneous drain placement alone. Risk factors for failure are patient complexity, female sex, earlier drainage, and Hispanic race. Failure of drainage is associated with higher total charges and longer hospital stay; however, no change in the mortality rate was noted.

Keywords: appendicitis; intra-abdominal abscess; intra-abdominal infection; perforated appendicitis; peri-appendiceal abscess.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Abscess* / epidemiology
  • Abdominal Abscess* / etiology
  • Abdominal Abscess* / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Appendicitis* / complications
  • Appendicitis* / epidemiology
  • Drainage* / adverse effects
  • Drainage* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Failure