Laparoscopy Using Room Air Insufflation in a Rural African Jungle Hospital: The Bongolo Hospital Experience, January 2006 to December 2013

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Abstract

Introduction. Carbon dioxide is the standard insufflation gas for laparoscopy. However, in many areas of the world, bottled carbon dioxide is not available. Laparoscopy offers advantages over open surgery and has been practiced using filtered room air insufflation since 2006 at Bongolo Hospital in Gabon, Africa. Objective. Our primary goal was to evaluate the safety of room air insufflation related to intraoperative and postoperative complications. Our secondary aim was to review the types of cases performed laparoscopically at our institution. Methods. This retrospective review evaluates laparoscopic cases performed at Bongolo Hospital between January 2006 and December 2013. Demographic and perioperative information for patients undergoing laparoscopic procedures was collected. Insufflation was achieved using a standard, oil-free air compressor using filtered air and a standard insufflation regulator. Results. A total of 368 laparoscopic procedures were identified within the time period. The majority of cases were gynecologic (43%). There was a 2% (8/368) complication rate with one perioperative death. The 2 complications related to insufflation were episodes of hypotension responsive to standard corrective measures. No intracorporeal combustion events were observed in any cases in which the use of diathermy and room air insufflation were combined. The other complications and the death were unrelated to the use of insufflation with air. Conclusion. Insufflation complications with room air occurred in our study. However, the complications related to insufflation with room air in our study were no different than those described in the literature using carbon dioxide. As room air is less costly than carbon dioxide and readily available, confirming the safety of room air insufflation in prospective studies is warranted. Room air appears to be safe for establishing and maintaining pneumoperitoneum, making laparoscopic surgery more accessible to patients in low-resource settings.

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