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A Journal on Surgery

Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 0,877

Frequency: Bi-Monthly

ISSN 0026-4733

Online ISSN 1827-1626


Minerva Chirurgica 2014 October;69(5):245-52


Anastomotic leakage following colorectal resection for cancer: how to define, manage and treat it

Basilico V. 1, Griffa B. 1, Radaelli F. 2, Zanardo M. 1, Rossi F. 3, Caizzone A. 4, Vannelli A. 1

1 Division of Gastrointestinal and Surgical Oncology, Ospedale Valduce, Como, Italy;
2 Gastroenterology Unit, Ospedale Valduce, Como, Italy;
3 Unit of Surgery 1, Ospedale di Circolo Fondazione Macchi, Varese, Italy;
4 Department of Surgery, University of Messina, Messina, Italy

AIM: Aim of the study was to report the experience of a single center in the surgical treatment of anastomotic leak after colorectal resection for cancer, focusing on its incidence, diagnosis and management, with particular attention to surgical options.
METHODS: Demograhic and clinical data from 1284 consecutive patients operated on for colorectal cancer during a period of 11 years, were prospectively collected and inserted into an electronic database. For the purpose of the study, only patients in whom an anastomosis was performed were considered. Therefore, 128 patients (9.9%) were excluded and 1156 represent the study population. All complications occurring after surgery were systematically recorded. The incidence of colorectal anastomotic leak (CAL), its management and outcome was analyzed.
RESULTS: An ileo-colic anastomosis was performed in 426 cases (36.8%), ileo-rectal in 29 (2.5%), colo-colic in 409 (35.4), colo-rectal with partial mesorectal excision in 211 (18.3%) and lower colorectal or coloanal anastomosis with total mesorectal excision and temporary loop ileostomy in 81 (7%). Colorectal anastomotic leak occurred in 78/1156 patients (6.7%), accounting for 19% of overall complications. Thirty-six out of 78 patients (46.2%) were successfully treated conservatively, whereas 42 (53.8%) underwent re-operation. Nine out of 78 patients (11.5%) with CAL died owing to an uncontrolled sepsis. All had undergone previous re-intervention, with a post-operative mortality rate of 21.4% (9 out of 42).
CONCLUSION: Mortality rate in patients undergoing re-operation for colorectal anastomotic leakeage is still high, and accounts for up to 40% of the deaths after colorectal resection for cancer. In the light of these data, strategic clinical decisions are mandatory to optimize the selection of patients who need an early and fast surgical approach. What does this paper add to the literature? Systematic and prospective data recording is an essential tool to assess the quality of healthcare and to plan quality improvement programs. Every effort should be done to reach an early diagnosis of CAL, possibly in a pre-clinical phase in which non clinical methods could be used to predict it.

language: English


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