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Increase of serum C-reactive protein is an early indicator of subsequent symptomatic anastomotic leakage after anterior resection
Department of Surgery, Örebro University Hospital, S-701 85 Örebro, Sweden.
Department of Radiology, Örebro University Hospital, S-701 85 Örebro, Sweden.
Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Surgery . Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Centre of Surgery and Oncology, Department of Surgery in Östergötland.
Department of Radiology, Vrinnevi Hospital, Norrköping, Sweden.
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2008 (English)In: Colorectal Disease, ISSN 1462-8910, Vol. 10, no 1, 75-80 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: This prospective study investigated the factors which might indicate anastomotic leakage after low anterior resection.

Method: Thirty-three patients who underwent anterior resection for rectal carcinoma (n = 32) and severe dysplasia (n = 1), were monitored daily by serum C-reactive protein (CRP) and white blood cell count (WBC) estimations until discharge from hospital. Computed tomography (CT) scans were performed on postoperative days 2 and 7 and the amount of presacral fluid collection was assessed. All patients had a pelvic drain and the volume of drainage was measured daily.

Results: The level of the anastomosis was at a median 5 cm (3-12 cm) above the anal verge. There was no 30-day mortality. Nine (27.2%) of the 33 patients developed a symptomatic anastomotic leakage which was diagnosed at a median of 8 days (range 4-14) postoperatively. The serum CRP was increased in patients who leaked from postoperative day 2 onwards (P = 0.004 on day 2, P < 0.001 on day 3-8). The WBC was decreased in preoperatively irradiated patients on days 1-5 (P = 0.021), with no difference seen between patients with or without leakage. Patients with leakage had a larger presacral fluid collection on CT on day 7 (median 76 ml vs 52 ml, P = 0.016) and a larger increase in the fluid collection between the first and the second CT examinations (28 ml vs 3 ml, P = 0.046).

Conclusion: An early rise in serum CRP was a strong indicator of leakage. Monitoring of CRP for possible early detection of symptomatic anastomotic leakage is recommended.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 10, no 1, 75-80 p.
Keyword [en]
Anastomotic leakage, C-reactive protein, CT-scan, Pelvic fluid collection, Rectal cancer, White blood cell count
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-47310DOI: 10.1111/j.1463-1318.2007.01300.xOAI: diva2:268206
On the day of the defence day the title of this article was: "Assessment of pelvic fluid collection and C-reactive protein after anterior resection of the rectum for cancer".Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2009-12-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Rectal cancer surgery: Defunctioning stoma, anastomotic leakage and postoperative monitoring
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Rectal cancer surgery: Defunctioning stoma, anastomotic leakage and postoperative monitoring
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The understanding of the mesorectal spread in rectal cancer has lead to wide acceptance of total mesorectal excision (TME) as the surgical technique of choice for carcinoma in the lower and mid rectum. While oncological results and survival have improved with TME-surgery, morbidity and mortality remain important issues. The most feared complication is symptomatic anastomotic leakage. The aim of this thesis was to focus on the role of the defunctioning stoma, risk factors, and postoperative monitoring in regard to anastomotic leakage in sphincter saving resection of the rectum.

Intraoperative adverse events were analysed in a retrospective population based case-control study in which all patients who underwent elective anterior resection in Sweden between 1987 and 1995, and who died within 30 days or during the initial hospital stay (n=140), were compared with patients chosen at random (n=423) who underwent the same operation during the same period, but survived the operation. Intraoperative adverse events were more frequent in those who died, and reconstruction of an anastomosis judged unsatisfactory by the surgeon improved the outcome.

In a population based retrospective case-control study, risk factors for symptomatic anastomotic leakage were investigated in randomly chosen sample of patients who underwent anterior resection in Sweden between 1987 and 1995 (n=432). Twelve per cent of the patients developed symptomatic leakage, and 25% of the patients with leakage ended up with a permanent stoma. In multivariate regression analysis, low anastomosis, preoperative radiotherapy, male gender and intraoperative adverse events were independent riskfactors for anastomotic leakage.

In a randomised multicentre trial patients operated with sphincter saving TME¨surgery for rectal cancer were randomised to a defunctioning stoma (n=116) or not (n=118). The overall rate symptomatic leakage was 19%. Patienst without a defunctioning stoma leaked in 28% and patients with a defunctioing stoma in 10%, a statistically significant difference (p<0.001) not previously demonstrated in any randomised trial of adequate size.

Postoperative monitoring with computed tomography scan (CT-scan) on postoperative day 2 and 7, and C-reactive protein (CRP) daily in 33 patients operated on with anterior resection of the rectum, demonstrated larger pelvic fluid collections in patients with leakage before the leakage was clinically diagnosed. CRP was increased from postoperative day 2 and onwards in patients in whom clinical leakage was diagnosed on median postoperative day 8.

In 23 patients who underwent anterior resection of the rectum, intraperitoneal metabolism was investigated using microdialysis technique measuring the carbohydrate metabolites lactate, pyruvate and glucose. Intraperitoneal cytokines IL-6, IL-10 and TNF-α were collected through a pelvic drain and analysed. In patients who developed leakage, the latate/pyruvate ratio was increased near the anastomosis on postoperative day 5 and 6, as well as IL-6 and IL-10 which were increased postoperatively day 1 and 2, while TNF-α was higher on day 1.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronci Press, 2006. 72 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 940
Anterior resection of the rectum, total mesorectal excision, TME, anastomotic leakage, defunctioning stoma, risk factors, intraoperative adverse events, population based study, postoperative monitoring, CT-scan microdialysis, cytokines
National Category
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-7695 (URN)91-85497-80-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-04-20, Wilandersalen, Universitetssjukhuset i Örebro, Örebro, 09:15 (English)
Available from: 2006-11-06 Created: 2006-11-06 Last updated: 2009-12-03Bibliographically approved

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Hallböök, OlofNorén, Bengt
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