A ten-year review of enterocutaneous fistulas after laparotomy for trauma.

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND: In the era of open abdomen management, the complication of enterocutaneous fistula (ECF) seems to be increasing in frequency. In nontrauma patients, reported mortality rates are 7% to 20%, and spontaneous closure rates are approximately 25%. This study is the largest series of ECFs reported exclusively caused by trauma and examines the characteristics unique to this population. METHODS: Trauma patients with an ECF at a single regional trauma center over a 10-year period were reviewed. Parameters studied included fistula output, site, nutritional status, operative history, and fistula resolution (spontaneous vs. operative). RESULTS: Approximately 2,224 patients received a trauma laparotomy and survived longer than 4 days. Of these, 43 patients (1.9%) had ECF. The rate of ECF in men was 2.22% and 0.74% in women. Patients with open abdomen had a higher ECF incidence (8% vs. 0.5%) and lower rate of spontaneous closure (37% vs. 45%). Spontaneous closure occurred in 31% with high-output fistulas, 13% with medium output, and 55% with low output. The mortality rate of ECF was 14% after an average stay of 59 days in the intensive care unit. CONCLUSION: With damage-control laparotomies, the traumatic ECF rate is increasing and is a different entity than nontraumatic ECF. Although the two populations have similar mortality rates, the trauma cohort demonstrates higher spontaneous closure rates and a curiously higher rate of development in men. Fistula output was not predictive of spontaneous closure.
  • Authors

    Author List

  • Fischer PE; Fabian TC; Magnotti LJ; Schroeppel TJ; Bee TK; Maish GO; Savage SA; Laing AE; Barker AB; Croce MA
  • Start Page

  • 924
  • End Page

  • 928
  • Volume

  • 67
  • Issue

  • 5