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J Gastrointest Surg. 2011 Jan;15(1):137-44. doi: 10.1007/s11605-010-1364-y. Epub 2010 Oct 27.

Early detection of anastomotic leakage after elective low anterior resection.

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General Surgery Department, Colorectal Unit, Mansoura University Hospital, Mansoura, Egypt.



Colorectal anastomotic leakage is a serious complication leading to major postoperative morbidity and mortality. In the present study, we investigated the early detection of anastomotic leakage before its clinical presentation.


Fifty-six patients with rectal cancer were included prospectively in this study. All patients underwent elective low anterior resection. Peritoneal samples were collected from the abdominal drains at the first, third, and fifth days postoperatively for bacteriological study (quantitative cultures for both aerobes and anaerobes) and cytokines (IL-6, IL-10, TNF) measurement. Patients were divided into two groups: those without symptomatic or clinical evidence of anastomotic leakage (AL; group 1) and those with clinical evidence of AL (group 2). Study variables included hospital stay, wound infection, operative time, blood loss, height of anastomosis, intraperitoneal cytokines, and microbiological study of peritoneal fluid.


Clinically evident AL occurred in eight patients (14.3%) and diagnosed postoperatively on median day 6. Intraperitoneal bacterial colonization and cytokine levels were significantly higher in patients with clinical evidence of AL. Wound infection was significantly higher in anastomotic leakage group. The hospital stay for the patients with anastomotic leakage was significantly longer than those without AL (14 ± 1.41 vs. 5.43 ± 0.89 days). A significant difference among two groups was observed regarding operative time, blood loss, blood transfusion, and height of the anastomosis.


The peritoneal cytokines levels and intraperitoneal bacterial colonization might be an additional diagnostic tool that can support the decision making of surgeons for early detection of anastomotic leak in colorectal surgery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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