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Risk Factors for Anastomotic Leakage After Colectomy

Leichtle, Stefan W. M.D.1; Mouawad, Nicolas J. M.D.1; Welch, Kathleen B. M.P.H.2; Lampman, Richard M. Ph.D.1; Cleary, Robert K. M.D.1

Diseases of the Colon & Rectum: May 2012 - Volume 55 - Issue 5 - p 569–575
doi: 10.1097/DCR.0b013e3182423c0d
Original Contribution

BACKGROUND: Anastomotic leakage is a morbid and potentially fatal complication of colorectal surgery. Determination of pre- and intraoperative risk factors may identify patients requiring increased postoperative surveillance for this major complication.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to identify risk factors associated with anastomotic leakage after colectomy with primary intra-abdominal anastomosis.

DESIGN: The prospective, statewide multicenter Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative database was analyzed.

SETTING: This study was performed at academic and community medical centers in the state of Michigan.

PATIENTS: Included were all cases of open and laparoscopic colectomy with primary intra-abdominal anastomosis from 2007 through 2010.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Univariate analysis followed by a multivariate logistic regression model was used to determine the influence of patient factors and operative events with respect to the incidence of postoperative anastomotic leakage.

RESULTS: Inclusion criteria were met by 4340 cases. Anastomotic leakage occurred in 85 (3.2%) of the 2626 (60.5%) open colectomies, and in 51 (3.0%) of the 1714 (39.5%) laparoscopic procedures, which was not significantly different (p = 0.63). Significant risk factors associated with anastomotic leakage based on the multivariate logistic regression model were fecal contamination with OR 2.51, 95% CI, 1.16 to 5.45, p = 0.02; and intraoperative blood loss of more than 100 mL and 300 mL, with OR 1.62, 95% CI, 1.10 to 2.40, p = 0.02; and OR 2.22, 95% CI, 1.32 to 3.76, p = 0.003.

LIMITATIONS: The Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative colectomy project excluded high-risk rectal resections and low pelvic anastomoses. Information about operative technique and intraoperative events is limited, and anastomotic leakage was determined through chart review.

CONCLUSION: Fecal contamination and increased blood loss during colectomy should raise suspicion for potential postoperative anastomotic leakage.

1Department of Surgery, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, Ann Arbor, Michigan

2Center for Statistical Consultation and Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Financial Disclosures: None reported.

Poster presentation at the meeting of the American College of Surgeons, San Francisco, CA, October 23 to 27, 2011.

Correspondence: Stefan W. Leichtle, M.D., Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, Department of Surgery, 5333 McAuley Dr, Reichert Health Building R-2111, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. E-mail:

© The ASCRS 2012