BACKGROUND: Pelvic sepsis after IPAA predisposes to pouch failure. There are limited data on long-term pouch function for patients with pelvic sepsis.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate functional outcomes and quality of life for patients undergoing IPAA who develop pelvic sepsis and preserve their pouch long-term.
DESIGN: This study is based on retrospective analysis of prospectively accrued data.
SETTINGS: This study was conducted at a single-center institution.
PATIENTS: All patients undergoing IPAA from 1983 to 2007 were included.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcomes measured were functional outcomes (urgency, incontinence, bowel movements) and quality-of-life (restrictions, energy, happiness) parameters.
RESULTS: Two hundred (6.2%) of 3234 patients developed pelvic septic complications within 3 months of IPAA. In the comparison of complications at the time of IPAA for the 2 groups, patients with pelvic sepsis had higher rates of postoperative hemorrhage (13.5% vs 3.7%, p < 0.001), anastomotic leak (35% vs 3.7%, p < 0.001), wound infection (14% vs 7.4%, p < 0.001), and fistula formation (37% vs 7.1%, p < 0.001). The overall median follow-up was 7 years. Pelvic sepsis was associated with greater pouch failure (19.5% vs 4%, p < 0.001). For patients with follow-up (pelvic sepsis = 144, nonpelvic sepsis = 2677) with a retained pouch, for whom we compared functional outcomes and quality of life, incontinence was worse (never/rare: 69.5% vs 77.8%, p = 0.03). Urgency scores were lower in pelvic sepsis but not statistically significant. The overall Cleveland Global Quality of Life score (and components) in the sepsis group were significantly worse than in the nonsepsis group (0.74 vs 0.79, p < 0.001). Patients who developed sepsis were also less likely to recommend IPAA to others than patients who did not develop pelvic sepsis.
LIMITATIONS: This study was limited by the retrospective analysis and the use of questionnaires.
CONCLUSIONS: Pelvic sepsis after IPAA leads to worse functional outcomes and quality of life even when it does not lead to pouch failure. This finding argues for careful attention to preoperative and intraoperative planning and strategies aimed at reducing this complication after IPAA.