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BACKGROUND - Anastomotic leak is one of the most feared complications of gastrointestinal surgery. Surgeons routinely perform a diverting loop ileostomy (DLI) to protect high-risk colo-rectal anastomoses.
STUDY DESIGN - The NSQIP database was queried from 2012 to 2013 for patients undergoing open ileo-colic resection with and without a DLI. The primary outcome was the development of any anastomotic leak-including those managed operatively and non-operatively. Secondary outcomes included overall complication rate, return to the OR, readmission, and 30-day mortality.
RESULTS - Four thousand one hundred fifty-nine patients underwent open ileo-colic resection during the study period. One hundred eighty-six (4.5 %) underwent a DLI. Factors associated with the addition of a DLI included emergency surgery, pre-operative sepsis, and IBD. There were 197 anastomotic leaks (4.7 %) with 100 patients requiring reoperation (2.4 %). DLI was associated with a decrease in anastomotic leaks requiring reoperation (DLI vs no DLI: 0 (0 %) vs 100 (2.5 %); p = 0.02) and with increased readmission (OR 1.93; 95 % CI 1.30-2.85; p = 0.001).
CONCLUSION - DLI is rarely used for open ileo-colic resection. There were no serious leaks requiring reoperation in the DLI group. A DLI was associated with an almost two-fold increase in the odds of readmission. Surgeons must weigh the reduction in serious leak rate with postoperative morbidity when considering a DLI for open ileo-colic resection.