Appendicitis is a common infection of the appendix, a finger-sized tube that is attached to the large intestine. The infection causes pain and may make you feel sick. Doctors don’t know why it develops, but everyone who has an appendix is at risk for appendicitis.
Most patients in the United States have surgery called an appendectomy to take out the infected appendix. But results from six European studies show that medicines called antibiotics can treat the infection without surgery in some patients.
In these studies, patients who were successfully treated with antibiotics were contacted a year after their first hospital visit. About 3 out of 4 did not have any more problems with their appendix. The 1 in 4 who had surgery after trying antibiotics had similar results to patients who had the surgery right away.
No one knows for sure which treatment is better: surgery to take out the appendix, or medicine to treat the infection. We are doing this study to try to figure that out.