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Int J Colorectal Dis. 2017 May;32(5):675-681. doi: 10.1007/s00384-017-2789-5. Epub 2017 Mar 11.

Postoperative ileus in an enhanced recovery pathway-a retrospective cohort study.

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Department of Visceral Surgery, University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV), Bugnon 46, 1011, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Centre Suisse d'Electronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM), Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
Department of Visceral Surgery, University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV), Bugnon 46, 1011, Lausanne, Switzerland.



Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols advocate no nasogastric tubes after colorectal surgery, but postoperative ileus (POI) remains a challenging clinical reality. The aim of this study was to assess incidence and risk factors of POI.


This retrospective analysis included all consecutive colorectal surgical procedures since May 2011 until November 2014. Uni- and multivariate risk factors for POI were identified by multiple logistic regression and functional and surgical outcomes assessed.


The study cohort consisted of 513 consecutive colorectal ERAS patients. One hundred twenty-eight patients (24.7%) needed postoperative reinsertion of nasogastric tube at the 3.9 ± 2.9 postoperative day. Multivariate analysis retained the American Society of Anesthesiologists group 3-4 (odds ratio (OR) 1.3; 95% CI 1-1.8, p = 0.043) and duration of surgery of >3 h (OR 1.3; 95% CI 1-1.7, p = 0.047) as independent risk factors for POI. Minimally invasive surgery (OR 0.6; 95% CI 0.5-0.8, p ≤ 0.001) and overall compliance of >70% to the ERAS protocol (OR 0.7; 95% CI 0.6-1, p = 0.031) represented independent protective factors. POI was associated with respiratory (23 vs. 5%, p ≤ 0.001) and cardiovascular (16 vs. 3%, p ≤ 0.001) complications.


POI was frequent in the present study. Overall compliance to the ERAS protocol and minimally invasive surgery helped to prevent POI, which was significantly correlated with medical complications.


Colorectal; Compliance; Enhanced recovery; Fast track; Ileus; Nasogastric drainage

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