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Arch Surg. 2012 Jul;147(7):600-5. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.2012.77.

Risk factors for anastomotic leak and mortality in diabetic patients undergoing colectomy: analysis from a statewide surgical quality collaborative.

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  • 1Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.

Erratum in

  • Arch Surg. 2012 Sep;147(9):819.



To determine the risk factors in diabetic patients that are associated with increased postcolectomy mortality and anastomotic leak.


A prospectively acquired statewide database of patients who underwent colectomy was reviewed. Primary risk factors were diabetes mellitus, hyperglycemia (glucose level ≥ 140 mg/dL), steroid use, and emergency surgery. Categorical analysis, univariate logistic regression, and multivariate regression were used to evaluate the effects of these risk factors on outcomes.


Participating hospitals within the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative.


Database review of patients from hospitals within the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative.


Anastomotic leak and 30- day mortality rate.


Of 5123 patients, 153 (3.0%) had leaks and 153 (3.0%) died. Preoperative hyperglycemia occurred in 15.6% of patients, only 54% of whom were known to have diabetes. Multivariate analysis showed that the risk of leak for patients with and without diabetes increased only by preoperative steroid use (P<.05). Mortality among diabetic patients was associated with emergency surgery (P<.01) and anastomotic leak (P<.05); it was not associated with hyperglycemia. Mortality among nondiabetic patients was associated with hyperglycemia (P<.005). The presence of an anastomotic leak was associated with increased mortality among diabetic patients (26.3% vs 4.5%; P<.001) compared with nondiabetic patients (6.0% vs 2.5%; P<.05).


The presence of diabetes did not have an effect on the presence of an anastomotic leak, but diabetic patients who had a leak had more than a 4-fold higher mortality compared with nondiabetic patients. Preoperative steroid use led to increased rates of anastomotic leak in diabetic patients. Mortality was associated with hyperglycemia for nondiabetic patients only. Improved screening may identify high-risk patients who would benefit from perioperative intervention.

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