Is abdominal cavity culture of any value in appendicitis?

Ron Bilik*, Cathy Burnweit, Barry Shandling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Intraperitoneal culturing during appendectomy is a routine procedure. Significant decrease in the mortality and dramatic improvement in the morbidity were achieved by using antibiotics perioperatively. The value of intraoperative abdominal cavity culture was assessed in our study. METHODS: A total of 499 patients formed two groups, those with acute nonperforated appendicitis (group A) and those with perforated appendicitis (group B). Intraoperative abdominal cavity culture were taken randomly in both groups. The perioperative morbidity, the validity, and the impact of positive culture on the antibiotic treatment wore examined in both groups. RESULTS: Clinical diagnosed perforation was confirmed histologically in 176 patients (98.3% accuracy). Intraperitoneal cultures were obtained in 30.1% of the patients in group A and in 67.1% of group B. The majority of the patients in group A were treated preoperatively and postoperatively by a single antibiotic agent whereas 58.0% of the patients in group B were started on triple-agent antibiotics for significantly longer periods (22.4 ± 9.4 versus 5.7 ± 7.4 doses, respectively; P <0.0001). No significant difference was found in both groups in the postoperative complication rate (wound infection, intra-abdominal abscess end small bowel obstruction) whether intra-abdominal culture was obtained or not (5.9% versus 4.7% in group A and 21.2% versus 21.9% in group B; P >0.05). CONCLUSION: Traditional intraoperative abdominal cavity culture can be abandoned. In perforated appendicitis, colonic flora can be predicted, and antibiotic therapy should begun without any abdominal cavity culture results. This practical approach will save money and reduce laboratory work without affecting the patient's morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-270
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1998
Externally publishedYes


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