Anastomotic leakage is a severe complication after low anterior resection for rectal cancer. With a global increase in registration initiatives, adapting uniform definitions and grading systems is highly relevant.OBJECTIVE:
This study aimed to provide clinical parameters to categorize anastomotic leakage into subcategories according to the International Study Group of Rectal Cancer.DESIGN:
All of the patients who underwent a low anterior resection in the Netherlands with primary anastomosis were included using the population-based Dutch Surgical Colorectal Audit.SETTINGS:
Data were derived from the Dutch Surgical Colorectal Audit.MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
The development of grade B anastomotic leakage (requiring invasive treatment but no surgery) versus grade C anastomotic leakage (requiring reoperation) was measured.RESULTS:
Overall, 4287 patients underwent low anterior resection with primary anastomosis. A total of 159 patients (4%) were diagnosed with grade B anastomotic leakage versus 259 (6%) with grade C. Hospital stay and intensive care unit visits were significantly higher in patients with grade C anastomotic leakage compared with patients with grade B leakage. Mortality in patients with grade C leakage was higher compared with grade B leakage, although nonsignificant (5.8% vs 2.5%; p = 0.12). Multivariate analysis showed that patients with diverting stomas (n = 2866) had a decreased risk of developing grade C leakage compared with grade B (OR = 0.17 (95% CI, 0.10–0.29)). Male patients had an increased risk of developing grade C anastomotic leakage, and patients receiving neoadjuvant treatment before surgery had an increased risk of developing grade B anastomotic leakage.LIMITATIONS:
Some possibly relevant variables, such as smoking and nutritional status, were not recorded in the database.CONCLUSIONS:
Anastomotic leakage after low anterior resection for rectal cancer was a frequent observed complication in this cohort. Differences in clinical outcome suggest that grade B and C leakage should be considered separate entities in future registrations. In patients with a diverting stoma, the chances of experiencing grade C anastomotic leakage were reduced. See Video Abstract at http://links.lww.com/DCR/A315.