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Surgery Research and Practice
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 3852731, 9 pages
Research Article

Diagnosis and Management of Intraoperative Colorectal Anastomotic Leaks: A Global Retrospective Patient Chart Review Study

1Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon), Cincinnati, OH, USA
2Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon), Somerville, NJ, USA
3Kantar Health GmbH, Munich, Germany

Correspondence should be addressed to S. Roy

Received 23 January 2017; Accepted 20 April 2017; Published 14 June 2017

Academic Editor: Dhananjaya Sharma

Copyright © 2017 A. Schiff et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. This targeted chart review study reports the first ever detailed global account of clinical approaches adopted to detect and manage anastomotic leaks identified during surgery in routine clinical practice. Method. 156 surgeons from eight countries retrospectively extracted data from surgical records of 458 patients who underwent colorectal surgery with an identified intraoperative leak at the circular anastomosis. Demographic details, procedures, and outcomes were analyzed descriptively, by country. Results. Most surgeries were performed laparoscopically (57.6%), followed by open surgeries (35.8%). The burden of intraoperative leaks on the healthcare system is driven in large part by the additional interventions such as using a sealant, recreating the anastomosis, and diverting the anastomosis to a colostomy bag, undertaken to manage the leak. The mean duration of hospitalization was 19.9 days. Postoperative anastomotic leaks occurred in 62 patients (13.5%), most frequently 4 to 7 days after surgery. Overall, country-specific differences were observed in patient characteristics, surgical procedures, method of diagnosis of intraoperative leak, interventions, and length of hospital stay. Conclusion. The potential cost of time and material needed to repair intraoperative leaks during surgery is substantial and often hidden to the healthcare system, potentially leading to an underestimation of the impact of this complication.