Table 1

Characteristics of trials included for meta-analysis, comparing conservative treatment versus appendicectomy in children with uncomplicated appendicitis

First authorRefStudy designInclusion criteria*Exclusion criteria†Conservative treatment (n)Appendicectomy (n)Age (years)Imaging method confirming the diagnosis (n/n total)Duration of follow-up
Hartwich13Prospective patient choice cohort5–18 years, symptoms <48 hours, ability to complete 7 days of oral antibioticsSignificant comorbidities, allergy to penicillin, inability to return to the hospital following recurrence/persistence245012  0.5 (surgical),
13, 0.6 (conservative) (mean, SEM)
US (72/74),
MRI (6/74)
14 months (mean)
Minneci14Prospective patient choice cohort7–17 years, symptoms <48 hours, WBC count <18 g/L, CRP <40 mg/LDiffuse peritonitis, CRP >40 mg/L, pregnancy, chronic abdominal pain, faecolith or appendix diameter >1.1 cm on imaging376512, 9–13 (surgical),
11, 10–14 (conservative)
(median, IQR)
US (84/102),
CT (28/102)
21 months (median)
Mudri15Retrospective physician choice cohort6–17 years, symptoms <48 hoursSymptoms >48 hours262611 (surgical),
12 (conservative) (mean)
US (52/52)NR
Svensson16Unicentric randomised controlled trial5–15 yearsDiffuse peritonitis, previous non-operative treatment of appendicitis242611, 6–15 (mean, range)US (50/50),
CT (4/500)
12 months (all, predefined)
Tanaka17Prospective patient choice cohortAge NR788610, 5–15 (mean, range)US (164/164),
CT (n NR)
3.3 years (surgical),
4.5 years (conservative) (median)
  • *The diagnosis of appendicitis included imaging studies without signs of complication as inclusion criterion in all six studies.

  • †The suspicion of complicated appendicitis was an exclusion criterion in all six studies.

  • CRP, C-reactive protein; NR, not reported; Ref, Reference number as in reference list; US, ultrasound; WBC, white blood cells.