Mucus Microbiome of Anastomotic Tissue During Surgery Has Predictive Value for Colorectal Anastomotic Leakage

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The aim of the present study is to investigate the association of gut microbiota, depending on treatment method, with the development of colorectal anastomotic leakage (AL).


AL is a major cause for morbidity and mortality after colorectal surgery, but the mechanism behind this complication still is not fully understood.


Bacterial DNA was isolated from 123 “donuts” of patients where a stapled colorectal anastomosis was made and was analyzed using 16S MiSeq sequencing. In 63 patients, this anastomosis was covered with a C-seal, a bioresorbable sheath stapled to the anastomosis.


In non-C-seal patients, AL development was associated with low microbial diversity (P = 0.002) and correspondingly with a high abundance of the dominant Bacteroidaceae and Lachnospiraceae families (P = 0.008 and 0.010, respectively). In C-seal samples, where AL rates were slightly higher (25% vs 17%), an association with the gut microbiota composition was almost undetectable. Only a few opportunistic pathogenic groups of low abundance were associated with AL in C-seal patients, in particular Prevotella oralis (P = 0.007).


AL in patients without a C-seal can be linked to the intestinal microbiota, in particular with a low microbial diversity and a higher abundance of especially mucin-degrading members of the Bacteroidaceae and Lachnospiraceae families. In C-seal patients, however, it seems that any potential protective benefits or harmful consequences of the gut microbiota composition in regard to wound healing are negated, as progression to AL is independent of the initially dominant bacterial composition.

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