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April 1970

Surgical Management of Traumatic Injuries of the Colon and Rectum

Author Affiliations

South Vietnam
From the Department of Surgery, 24th Evacuation Hospital, South Vietnam. Dr. Ganchrow is now at the Ferguson Clinic, Grand Rapids, Mich; Lieutenant Colonel Lavenson is now at Beaumont Army Hospital, EI Paso, Tex; and Major McNamara is now at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC.

Arch Surg. 1970;100(4):515-520. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1970.01340220191032

Wounds of the colon and rectum are one of the most serious groups of injuries confronting the combat surgeon in Vietnam. After control of hemorrhage and shock, the greatest mortality in war wounds results from sepsis. Colonic injury is associated with septic complications in a high percentage of abdominal injuries. Proper initial management of colorectal injuries will significantly reduce septic complications and, consequently, mortality.

The purpose of this present study is to review the method and results of management of a large number of colon and rectal wounds in a busy combat hospital in Vietnam.

Patient Material  The hospital records of all casualties with wounds of the colon and rectum treated at the 24th Evacuation Hospital in Vietnam from May 1, 1968, to April 30, 1969, were reviewed. Two hundred and twenty patients underwent surgery for colon and rectal perforation.

Results  Two hundred and thirty primary procedures were performed for

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