Thirty-one abdominal fascial wound dehiscences occurred in 2,761 patients undergoing major abdominal surgery during a 5-year period (1%). Twenty-two specific local and systemic risk factors were analyzed and compared with the risk factors of a control group of 38 patients undergoing similar procedures without dehiscence. Through multivariate analysis, each factor was assessed as an independent statistical variable. Significant factors (p less than 0.05) were found to include age over 65, wound infection, pulmonary disease, hemodynamic instability, and ostomies in the incision. Additional systemic risk factors that were found to be significant included hypoproteinemia, systemic infection, obesity, uremia, hyperalimentation, malignancy, ascites, steroid use, and hypertension. Risk factors not found to be important independent variables included sex, type of incision, type of closure, foreign body in the wound, anemia, jaundice, and diabetes. When dehiscence and control groups were combined, 30% of patients with at least five significant risk factors developed dehiscence, and all the patients with more than eight risk factors developed a wound dehiscence. There was an overall mortality of 29%, which was directly related to the number of significant risk factors. The co-existence of 9 risk factors portended death in one third of the patients, and all the patients with more than 10 risk factors died.
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