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Open Abdomen Treatment for Septic Patients with Gastrointestinal Fistula: From Fistula Control to Definitive Closure

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The use of open abdomen in the management of gastrointestinal fistula complicated with severe intra-abdominal infection is uncommon. This study was designed to evaluate outcomes of our staged approach for the infected open abdomen. Patients who had gastrointestinal fistula and underwent open abdomen treatment were retrospectively reviewed. Various materials such as polypropylene mesh and a modified sandwich package were used to achieve temporary abdominal closure followed by skin grafting when the granulation bed matured. A delayed definitive operation was performed for final abdominal closure without implant of prosthetic mesh. Between 1999 and 2009, 56 (68.3%) of 82 patients survived through this treatment. Among them, 42 patients achieved final abdominal closure. Spontaneous fistula closure occurred in 16 patients with secondary fistula recorded in six patients. Besides, wound complications occurred in 13 patients with two cases for pulmonary infection. Within a 12-month follow-up period after definitive closure, no additional fistula was recorded excluding planned ventral hernia repair. Open abdomen treatment was effective for gastrointestinal fistula complicated by severe intra-abdominal infection. A delayed and deliberate operative strategy aiming at fistula excision and fascial closure, with simultaneous abdominal wall reconstruction, was required for the infected open abdomen.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Surgery, Jinling Hospital, Medical School of Nanjing University, Nanjing, China

Publication date: 01 April 2014

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