Variations in clinical course and surgical outcomes of acute appendicitis during COVID-19 Pandemic: a multicenter cohort study

Carlos Eduardo Rey Chaves, Felipe Girón, Ricardo E. Núñez-Rocha, Elkin Benítez, Saralia Ruiz, Lina Rodríguez, Daniela Ayala, Carlos José Villamil, Valentina Galvis, Marco Vanegas, Mónica Gómez, Ricardo Nassar, Juan David Hernández, Danny Conde, María Gómez Zuleta

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BACKGROUND: COVID-19 pandemic has led to changes in the presentation and treatment of surgical pathologies. Therefore, we aim to describe the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the clinical presentation and management of acute appendicitis (AAp) and its surgical outcomes.

STUDY DESIGN: A multicenter cohort study with prospectively collected databases. Three high-volume centers were included and all patients over 18 years of age who underwent appendectomy for AAp were included. Multiple logistic regression and multinomial logistic regression were performed, and odds ratio, relative risk, and B-coefficient were reported when appropriate, statistical significance was reached with p-values < 0.05.

RESULTS: 1.468 patients were included (709 in the pre-pandemic group and 759 in the COVID-19 group). Female patients constituted 51.84%. Mean age was 38.13 ± 16.96 years. Mean Alvarado's score was 7.01 ± 1.59 points. Open surgical approach was preferred in 90.12%. Conversion rate of 1.29%. Mortality rate was 0.75%. There was an increase of perforated and localized peritonitis (p 0.01) in the COVID-19 group. Presence of any postoperative complication (p 0.00), requirement of right colectomy and ileostomy (p 0.00), and mortality (p 0.04) were higher in the COVID-19 group. Patients in the pre-pandemic group have a lesser risk of mortality (OR 0.14, p 0.02, 95% CI 0.02-0.81) and a lesser relative risk of having complicated appendicitis (RR 0.68, p 0.00, 95% CI 0.54-0.86).

CONCLUSION: Complicated appendicitis was an unexpected consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, due to surgical consultation delay, increased rates of morbidity, associated procedures, and mortality, influencing the clinical course and surgical outcomes of patients with AAp.

Original languageEnglish
Article number56
JournalBMC Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Appendicitis
  • COVID 19
  • Multicenter study
  • Outcomes
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Surgery
  • Pandemics
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Appendicitis/complications
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Disease Progression
  • Young Adult
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Adolescent
  • Appendectomy/methods
  • Female
  • Adult
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Cohort Studies


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