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Closed Suction Drain After Isolated Hollow Viscus Injury: A Friend or Foe?

Talving, Peep MD, PhD, FACS; Mohseni, Shahin MD; Inaba, Kenji MD, FRCSC, FACS; Plurad, David MD, FACS; Branco, Bernardino Castelo MD; Lam, Lydia MD; Chan, Linda S. PhD; Demetriades, Demetrios MD, PhD, FACS

Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery: June 2011 - Volume 70 - Issue 6 - p 1424-1428
doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e31821c6337
Original Article

Background: The objective of this study was to investigate associations between closed suction intra-abdominal drain placement in isolated hollow viscus injury (HVI) and intra-abdominal deep surgical site infections (DSSI).

Patients: Patients undergoing emergent trauma laparotomy at a Level I trauma center after isolated HVI from January 2006 to December 2008 were identified. Study variables extracted from institutional trauma registry and patient electronic medical records included demographics, clinical characteristics, abdominal injuries, drain placement, DSSI, septic events, intensive care unit and hospital length of stay, and mortality. Diagnosis of DSSI was based on abdominal computed tomography scan demonstrating an intra-abdominal collection combined with fever and increased white blood cell count. Patients were analyzed according to the HVI severity and the type of intervention performed: primary repair versus resection and primary reanastomosis. To identify independent associations between surgical management of HVI and DSSI, logistic regression analysis was used.

Results: Overall, 131 patients met the study criteria; 20% (n = 26) received an intra-abdominal drain. The incidence of DSSI was significantly higher in patients who received a drain (31% vs. 9%, p = 0.001). No associated risk for development of DSSI in patients who underwent drain placement after primary repair versus resection and primary reanastomosis was demonstrated. Stepwise logistic regression analysis identified the following independent risk factors for development of DSSI: drain utilization (adjusted odds ratio, 3.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.15–11.9; p < 0.028), and Injury Severity Score ≥16 (adjusted odds ratio, 5.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.9–16.9; p < 0.002). In-hospital survival was unchanged with respective interventions.

Conclusion: Intra-abdominal drain placement after isolated HVI repair is associated with almost fourfold adjusted increased incidence of DSSI. Prospective validation of drain utilization in these instances is warranted.

From the Division of Acute Care Surgery (Trauma Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care), Department of Surgery, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.

Submitted for publication November 16, 2010.

Accepted for publication March 25, 2011.

Address for reprints: Peep Talving, MD, PhD, FACS, Division of Acute Care Surgery (Trauma, Emergency Surgery & Surgical Critical Care), Department of Surgery, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles County General Hospital (LAC + USC), 1200 North State Street, C5L100, Los Angeles, CA 90033; email:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.