Defunctioning Ileostomy Reversal Rates and Reasons for Delayed Reversal: Does Delay Impact on Complications of Ileostomy Reversal? A Study of 170 Defunctioning Ileostomies

Peter Waterland, Kolitha Goonetilleke, David N. Naumann, Mathew Sutcliff, Faris Soliman


Background: Temporary defunctioning ileostomy can reduce the consequences of anastomotic leak following low anterior resection. However, some patients never have their ileostomy reversed and in other cases the time to reversal of ileostomy can be delayed. The aim of this study was to identify the ileostomy closure rate following anterior resection, time to closure of ileostomy, reasons for delay in reversal and whether delay was associated with an increased complication rate.

Methods: Data were collected retrospectively on consecutive patients undergoing defunctioning ileostomy following anterior resection for rectal cancer, between January 2009 and August 2013. Data were collected on reversal of ileostomy rates, time to reversal, reasons for delayed reversal (defined as > 6 months) and complications following reversal.

Results: One hundred seventy patients were studied (median age 69 years, range 41 - 90 years), of whom 117 (69%) were male. One hundred twenty-seven (75%) patients had their ileostomies reversed. Median time to reversal was 6 months (range 1 - 42). In 63 patients who had delayed reversal, reasons were adjuvant chemotherapy (22, 35%), medical illness (14, 22%), anastomotic leak (9, 14%), and others (4, 7%). Postoperative complications occurred in 33 patients (26%). There was no postoperative mortality. Univariate analysis showed that delayed reversal was associated with an increased rate of complications and longer length of hospital stay following reversal (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: One in four defunctioning ileostomies are not closed following anterior resection in our unit. Of those that are closed, approximately 50% have delayed closure beyond 6 months which is associated with increased risk of complications following their ileostomy reversal.

J Clin Med Res. 2015;7(9):685-689


Ileostomy; Defunctioning; Anterior resection

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