July 1993

The Choice of Surgical Procedure for Peritonitis due to Colonic Perforation

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Emergency Surgery, Centro E. Palini e G. Bevilacqua, Universita di Milano, and IRCCS, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.

Arch Surg. 1993;128(7):814-818. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1993.01420190110014

Objective:  Because the choice of surgical procedure for colonic perforation is still matter of debate, we retrospectively studied peritonitis caused by spontaneous colonic perforation to assess predictors of mortality and the safety of primary resection and anastomosis.

Design:  Case series.

Patients:  We investigated one hundred thirty-six consecutive patients with peritonitis due to colonic perforation who were surgically treated in an emergency surgery department. Eighty-one patients underwent primary resection and anastomosis, thirty-three underwent the Hartmann procedure, and twenty-two had simple colostomy. The seriousness of peritonitis was assessed in terms of Hinchey stage, the Mannheim Peritonitis Index (MPI), and the acute physiology and chronic health evaluation (APACHE) II score.

Results:  The overall mortality rate was 20%. The APACHE II scores and MPIs were lower for survivors than for nonsurvivors. The mortality rate was 6% for primary resection and anastomosis, 30% for the Hartmann procedure, and 59% for simple colostomy, but the severity scores were significantly lower in patients who underwent primary resection than those of patients who had the Hartmann procedure and colostomy, respectively.

Conclusions:  Since primary resection and anastomosis has been shown to be safe, we suggest that is is proper, even in the presence of peritonitis. In spite of this, we conclude that the surgical procedure does not influence outcome but that the mortality rate is related to the severity of peritonitis, accurately measured by APACHE II score and MPI.(Arch Surg. 1993;128:814-818)