Anastomotic leakage after lower gastrointestinal anastomosis: Men are at a higher risk

  • Lipska M
  • Bissett I
  • Parry B
 et al. 
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BACKGROUND: Anastomotic leakage is the most important complication specific to intestinal surgery. The aim of this study was to review the anastomotic leakage rates in a single Colorectal Unit and to evaluate the risk factors for anastomotic leakage after lower gastrointestinal anastomosis. METHODS: A total of 541 consecutive operations involving anastomoses of the colon and rectum that were carried out between 1999 and 2004 at a single colorectal unit were reviewed. Data concerning 35 variables, relating to patient, tumour and surgical factors, were recorded. Outcomes with respect to anastomotic leakage and mortality were recorded. Data were analysed using univariate and multivariate analyses and odds ratios (OR) calculated. RESULTS: The overall rate of anastomotic leakage was 6.5% (35 of 541). The most frequently carried out operations were right hemicolectomy and anterior resection of the rectum, with leak rates of 2.2 and 7.4%, respectively. Univariate analysis showed that male gender (OR = 3.5), previous abdominal surgery (OR = 2.4), Crohn's disease (OR = 3.3), rectal cancer < or =12 cm from the anal verge (OR = 5.4) and prolonged operating time (OR = 2.8) were factors significantly associated with anastomotic leakage. Male gender, a history of previous abdominal surgery and the presence of a low cancer remained significant after multivariate analysis. The risk of anastomotic leakage increased when two or more risk factors were present (P < 0.01). The overall mortality was 3.7% and was higher in patients with anastomotic leakage (14.3%; P = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Male gender, previous abdominal surgery and low rectal cancer are associated with increased anastomotic leakage rates. These have important implications during preoperative patient counselling and decision-making regarding defunctioning stoma formation.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Anastomotic leak
  • Colorectal surgery
  • Male gender
  • Rectal cancer
  • Risk factor

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