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A Journal on Surgery

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Minerva Chirurgica 1999 September;54(9):597-606

language: Italian

Postoperative peritonitis. Policy for reoperation

Amorotti C., Mosca D., Palladino L., Spallanzani A., Rossi A.


Background. Postoperative peritonitis is a pathologic condition with a sometime nuclear clinical occurence and therefore with an uncertain timing for reoperation. Aim of this paper is to identify the type and frequency of the digestive and systemic symptoms in relation to the anatomo-pathologic peroperative picture.
Methods. Between 1980 and 1996, 119 patients were reoperated for a postoperative peritonitis (PPO) in the Surgical Department of Modena University. PPO was due to a lesion situated above the mesocolon in 33 patients, from the small bowel in 18, postappendicectomy in 25 and from the colon in 40. The first operation (for benign disease in 66.4%, for malignancy in 33.6%) was performed in emergency in 47 cases (39.5%) and as elective surgery in 72 (60.5%).
Results. The global mortality was of 33.6% (40 patients). An attempt is made to identify, the earlier and the most important bioclinical parameters for a correct indication to surgery. Twenty symptoms have been identified that, with different frequency, are strictly related with the onset of a PPO (in average 5 symptoms were positive). A research of these parameters, each 4-6 hours, allow to identify a subclinic PPO.
Conclusions. During the decisional timing, it is important to check these general and digestive symptoms, apparently not serious, in order to avoid the onset appearance of an abdominal tenderness or a multiorgan failure that make the prognosis more severe.

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