Determination of therapeutic strategy for adhesive small bowel obstruction using water-soluble contrast agents: An audit of 776 cases in a single center

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Abstract

Background.

Several studies have investigated the diagnostic and therapeutic role of water-soluble contrast agents in adhesive small bowel obstruction, but there is no clear diagnostic classification for the determination of therapeutic strategy. The aim of this study was to clarify the clinical value of classification using water-soluble contrast agents in patients with adhesive small bowel obstruction.

Methods.

Between January 2009 and December 2015, 776 consecutive patients with adhesive small bowel obstruction were managed initially with water-soluble contrast agents and were included in the study. Abdominal x-rays were taken 5 hours after administration of 100 mL water-soluble contrast agents and classified into 4 types. The medical records of the patients with adhesive small bowel obstruction were analyzed retrospectively and divided into 2 groups of patients with complete obstruction (ie, the absence of contrast agent in the colon) with (type I) or without (type II) a detectable point of obstruction and a group with an incomplete obstruction (ie, the presence of contrast agent in the colon) with (type IIIA) or without (type IIIB) dilated small intestine.

Results.

Types I, II, IIIA, and IIIB were identified in 27, 90, 358, and 301 patients, respectively. The overall operative rate was 16.6%. In the patients treated conservatively (types IIIA and IIIB), 647 patients (98.2%) were treated successfully without operative intervention. The operative rate was 3.4% (n = 12/358) in type IIIA vs 0% (n = 0/301) in the type IIIB group (P = .001). Compared with type IIIA, type IIIB was associated with earlier initiation of oral intake (2.1 vs 2.6 days, P < .001) and a lesser hospital stays (9 vs 11 days, P < .001).

Conclusion.

This new classification using water-soluble contrast agents is a simple and useful diagnostic method for the determination of therapeutic strategy for adhesive small bowel obstruction.

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