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What Is the Rate of Small Bowel Obstruction after Colectomy?

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The rate of small bowel obstruction (SBO) after colectomy is unknown. Given the large number of colectomies performed in the United States, elucidating SBO rates, outcomes, and identifying predictors of readmission is important. Using the California Inpatient File, we identified all patients readmitted with a principle diagnosis of SBO at least once in the 3 years after colectomy (n = 4555). Patients admitted with a diagnosis of SBO in the 3 years before surgery were excluded. Overall, 10 per cent of patients were readmitted for SBO at least once after colectomy. Approximately 58 per cent were readmitted in the first year and 22 per cent of these patients required surgery. The most common operation performed was lysis of adhesions. Median length of stay was twice as long in the surgery group versus the no surgery group (12 vs 6 days). Overall mortality was higher in the nonsurgery group compared with the surgery group (33% vs 21%, P < 0.001) and highest in the elderly (44% vs 30%, P < 0.001). One in 10 patients without a history of SBO who undergoes a colectomy will be readmitted at least once in the subsequent 3 years for SBO, and there is a high mortality rate in this group, especially in the elderly.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: From the Department of Surgery, Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California; the, Department of Surgery, Greater West Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California; and the 2: From the Department of Surgery, Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California; the 3: Department of Medicine, Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California.

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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