Pioneering research shows the benefits and risks of treating appendicitis with antibiotics instead of surgery

The study shows 7 in 10 participants avoided an operation for appendicitis by first trying treatment with antibiotics. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Results of a first-of-its-kind clinical trial shed light on when antibiotics instead of surgery might be the better choice for treating appendicitis in some patients, according to researchers with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), who led the Houston trial sites.

The results from the national Comparing Outcomes of Antibiotic Drugs and Appendectomy (CODA) trial were published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“This was the first multicenter U.S. trial to study appendicitis treatment, and it assessed a diverse population in addition to a wider variety of appendicitis than previous trials,” said Mike Liang, MD, associate professor of surgery with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, who was the principal investigator at Harris Health’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, which was one of the largest enrolling sites of the 25 across the country that participated in the trial.

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October 5, 2020