Background: To define the benefits of different methods for diagnosis of pediatric appendicitis in Taiwan, a nationwide cohort study was used for analysis. Methods: We identified 44,529 patients under 18 years old who had been hospitalized with a diagnosis of acute appendicitis between 2003 and 2012. We analyzed the percentages of cases in which ultrasound (US) and/or computed tomography (CT) were performed and non-perforated and perforated appendicitis were diagnosed for each year. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to evaluate risk factors for perforated appendicitis. Results: There were more cases of non-perforated appendicitis (N = 32,491) than perforated appendicitis (N = 12,038). The rate of non-perforated cases decreased from 0.068% in 2003 to 0.049% in 2012; perforated cases remained relatively stable at 0.024%~0.023% from 2003 to 2012. The percentage of CT evaluation increased from 3% in 2003 to 20% in 2012; the rates of US or both US and CT evaluations were similar annually. The percentage of neither CT nor US evaluation gradually decreased from 97% in 2003, to 79% in 2012. The odds ratios of a perforated appendix for those patients diagnosed by US, CT, or both US and CT were 1.227 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.91, 1.65; p = 0.173), 2.744 (95% CI 2.55, 2.95; p < 0.001), and 5.062 (95% CI = 3.14, 8.17; p < 0.001), respectively, compared to patients who did not receive US or CT. The odd ratios of a perforated appendix for those patients 7-12 and ≤6 years old were 1.756 (95% CI 1.67, 1.84; p < 0.001) and 3.094 (95% CI 2.87, 3.34; p < 0.001), respectively, compared to those 13-18 years old. Conclusions: Our study demonstrated that using CT scan as a diagnostic tool for acute appendicitis increased annually; most patients especially those ≤6 years old who received CT evaluation had a greater risk of having perforated appendicitis. We recommend a prompt appendectomy in those pediatric patients with typical clinical symptoms and physical findings for non-complicated appendicitis to avoid the risk of appendiceal perforation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas