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Surgical Repair of Small Bowel Fistulas: Risk Factors of Complications or Fistula Recurrence

Andrzej Kluciński, Marek Wroński, Włodzimierz Cebulski, Tomasz Guzel, Bartosz Witkowski, Marcin Makiewicz, Andrzej Krajewski, Maciej Słodkowski

(Department of General, Gastroenterological and Oncological Surgery, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland)

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:5445-5452

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.914277

BACKGROUND: Definitive surgical repair of persistent fistulas of the small intestine remains a surgical challenge with a high rate of re-fistulation and mortality. The aim of this study was to evaluate the type and incidence of complications after definitive surgical repair, and to identify factors predictive of severe postoperative complications or fistula recurrence.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: This was a retrospective study of 42 patients who underwent elective surgical repair of a persistent fistula of the small intestine. The analysis included preoperative and intraoperative parameters.
RESULTS: The healing rate after definitive surgery was 71.4%. Postoperative complications developed in 88.1% of patients. The mortality rate was 7.2%. Fistula recurrence was recognized in 21.4% of cases. Overall, 93 complications occurred in 37 patients. The most common complications were septic (48.0%). Hemorrhagic and digestive tract-related complications accounted for 19.0% and 15.0% of all complications, respectively. Severe complications (Clavien-Dindo grade III-V) made up 28.0% of all complications. In univariate analysis, multiple fistulas (p=0.03), higher C-reactive protein level (p=0.01), and longer time interval from admission to definitive surgery (p=0.01) were associated with an increased risk of severe complications or fistula recurrence. In multivariate analysis, only multiple fistulas were an independent risk factor for severe complications or fistula recurrence (OR=8.2, p=0.04).
CONCLUSIONS: Fistula complexity determines the risk of severe postoperative complications or fistula recurrence after definitive surgical repair of the persistent small intestine fistulas. Inflammatory parameters should be normalized before definitive surgery.

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