Conference Coverage

Prior resections increase anastomotic leak risk in Crohn’s

 

Key clinical point: To mitigate the increased risk of anastomotic leaks, Crohn’s patients who have repeat resections need additional attention to correct modifiable risk factors before surgery, such as steroid use and malnutrition.

Major finding: The number of prior resections correlated almost perfectly with an increasing risk of anastomotic leakage (r = 0.998); the odds ratio for leakage with prior resection, compared with initial resection, was 3.5 (95% confidence interval, 1.3-9.4; P less than .005).

Data source: A review of 206 Crohn’ patients.

Disclosures: The investigators had no conflicts of interest.


 

AT ASCRS 2017

– The risk of anastomotic leaks after bowel resection for Crohn’s disease is more than three times higher in patients who have had prior resections, according to a review of 206 patients at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, Mass.

There were 20 anastomotic leaks within 30 days of resection in those patients, giving an overall leakage rate of 10%. Among the 123 patients who were having their first resection, however, the rate was 5% (6/123). The risk jumped to 17% in the 83 who had prior resections (14/83) and 23% (7) among the 30 patients who had two or more prior resections, which is “substantially higher than we talk about in the clinic when we are counseling these people,” said lead investigator Forrest Johnston, MD, a colorectal surgery fellow at Lahey.

Dr. Forrest Johnston, Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, Burlington, Mass. M. Alexander Otto/Frontline Medical News

Dr. Forrest Johnston

The number of prior resections correlated almost perfectly with an increasing risk of anastomotic leakage (r = 0.998). The odds ratio for leakage with prior resection, compared with initial resection, was 3.5 (95% confidence interval, 1.3-9.4; P less than .005).

The findings are important because prior resections have not, until now, been formally recognized as a risk factor for anastomotic leaks, and repeat resections are common in Crohn’s. “When you see patients for repeat intestinal resections, you have to look at them as a higher risk population in terms of your counseling and algorithms,” Dr. Johnston said at the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons annual meeting. In addition, to mitigate the increased risk, Crohn’s patients who have repeat resections need additional attention to correct modifiable risk factors before surgery, such as steroid use and malnutrition. “Some of these patients are pushed through the clinic,” but “they deserve a bit more time.”

The heightened risk is also “another factor that might tip you one way or another” in choosing surgical options. “It’s certainly something to think about,” he said.

The new and prior resection patients in the study were well matched in terms of known risk factors for leakage, including age, sex, preoperative serum albumin, and use of immune suppressing medications. “The increased risk of leak is not explained by preoperative nutritional status or medication use,” Dr. Johnston said.

Estimated blood loss, OR time, types of procedures, hand-sewn versus stapled anastomoses, and other surgical variables were also similar.

The lack of significant differences between the groups raises the question of why repeat resections leak more. “That’s the million dollar question. My thought is that repeat resections indicate a greater severity of Crohn’s disease. I think there’s microvascular disease that’s affecting their tissue integrity, but we don’t appreciate it at the time of their anastomosis. If it was obvious at the time of surgery, patients wouldn’t be put together. They’d just get a stoma and be done with it,” Dr. Johnston said

About 80% of both first-time and repeat procedures were ileocolic resections secondary to obstruction, generally without bowel prep. Repeat procedures were performed a mean of 15 years after the first operation. Most initial resections were done laparoscopically, and a good portion of repeat procedures were open. Anorectal cases were excluded from the analysis.

Dr. Johnston said his team looked into the issue after noticing that repeat patients “seemed to leak a little bit more than we expected.”

The investigators had no conflicts of interest.

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