Reuters Health: Perforated appendicitis in kids more common after COVID-19 outbreak
By Will Boggs, MD
The rates of perforated appendicitis in children in the New York City metropolitan region increased after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers report.
"What I found most interesting was that even though we saw an overall higher perforation rate, we found that children who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 showed absolutely no differences in perforation rates, hospital stay, or postoperative outcomes," said Dr. Jason C. Fisher of Hassenfeld Children's Hospital at NYU Langone, in New York City.
Early in the pandemic, there were concerns that limited access to pediatrician's offices and fears of contracting SARS-CoV-2 might deter families from obtaining timely assessment early in the course of appendicitis.
About half of the children who presented with appendicitis in the COVID-19 era tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, but there were no differences in perforation rates or any other measured clinical variable between those testing positive and those testing negative for the virus.
Dr. Rebecca Rentea of Children's Mercy Kansas City, UMKC School of Medicine, in Missouri, who recently reviewed the diagnosis and management of pediatric appendicitis, told Reuters Health by email, "Families require reassurance to take children to the emergency department/emergency care when they are not feeling well. Additionally, while COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 precautions are necessary, surgery if required should take place as the child may be asymptomatic."
"The impact of anesthesia on a COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 asymptomatic child has not been defined but was reassuring based on the small sample presented in this article," she said.
Dr. Rentea, who also did not participate in the study, added, "It will be interesting to see what happens to pediatric surgical patients in general for volumes with the start of the new school year."
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