24/7 Pediatric Surgery Expertise for Emergent Diagnosis and Treatment of Appendicitis

Appendectomy is the most common emergency abdominal surgery performed on children under age 14, yet appendicitis remains one of the most challenging diagnoses.

Computed tomography (CT) is the gold standard for diagnosing adults, but children are 10 times more sensitive to radiation. Therefore, the experts at the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper use ultrasound as the first diagnostic modality along with hematologic studies as an alternative to CT in diagnosing pediatric appendicitis. Cooper’s pediatric radiologists also image only when there is a clear medical benefit and use the lowest amount of radiation necessary for all studies, especially CT.

The Children’s Regional Hospital provides 24-hour access to board certified, specialty and fellowship trained pediatric physicians including South Jersey’s only fellowship trained pediatric radiologists. Cooper also is the only local hospital with round-the-clock pediatric surgical coverage. Minimally invasive techniques are used whenever possible.

“Cooper has made a tremendous commitment to making sure children are diagnosed accurately and are treated quickly,” said Michael B. Marchildon, MD, FACS, FAAP, Attending Surgeon. “Appendicitis can mimic any intra-abdominal malady and children often present with atypical symptoms.”

The most common atypical features may include absence of symptoms normally associated with appendicitis, such as fever, anorexia, rebound, guarding and localized pain in the right lower quadrant. If left untreated, an inflamed appendix can lead to significant morbidity and even mortality in minutes to hours.

The Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper’s appendectomy team includes: surgeons Harsh Grewal, MD, FACS, FAAP, Division Head, Dennis J. Hoelzer, MD, FACS, FAAP, and Michael B. Marchildon, MD, FACS, FAAP; pediatric radiologists Emily D. Scattergood, MD, and Thomas J. Presenza, DO; pediatric infectious disease specialists Anat R. Feingold, MD, MPH, Division Head, and Debrah Meislich, MD; eight pediatric emergency medicine physicians under the direction of Sandra J. Nairn, DO, FAAP; five pediatric anesthesiologists under the direction of Bharathi Gourkanti, MD, Director; and three critical care specialists.

Transfer services by land or air are available by calling 1.855.CUH.XFER (1.855.284.9337).

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