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Complications of intestinal stomas

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Stomal complications are prevalent and associated with considerable morbidity. This study examined the incidence and potential risk factors for their development.


The time of onset and presence of ten specific complications were recorded for patients with an intestinal stoma over 10 years at two urban hospitals. A database was established with 20 explanatory variables (such as common medical co‐morbidities) derived from the stomatherapy and medical records. Univariable and multivariable analyses were performed to identify potential risk factors for the development of complications.


Some 1216 patients (mean age 64 years) with a minimum of 2 years' follow‐up were included, of whom 544 (44·7 per cent) underwent surgery for malignancy and 647 (53·2 per cent) had a colostomy formed. There were 1219 complications in total; 807 major complications (excluding excoriation and slough) occurred in 564 patients (46·4 per cent), of which the commonest was parastomal hernia (171, 14·1 per cent). On multivariable analysis, musculoskeletal co‐morbidity (odds ratio (OR) 1·79, 95 per cent confidence interval 1·05 to 3·07; P = 0·032), cancer (OR 1·48, 1·13 to 1·93; P = 0·004) and high American Association of Anesthesiologists score (OR = 3·80, 2·14 to 6·75; P < 0·001) were associated with an increased risk of complications. Preoperative siting was associated with a reduced risk (OR 0·59, 0·39 to 0·90; P = 0·014).


Intestinal stomal complications are common, occurring in almost half of patients. There are certain irremediable risk factors, allowing appropriate preoperative counselling. Copyright © 2010 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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