A New Perspective on Vacuum-Assisted Closure for the Treatment of Anastomotic Leak Following Low Anterior Resection for Rectal Cancer, Is It Worthy?

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Abstract

Background. Anastomotic dehiscence is a common complication of anterior resection. In this work, we evaluate the management of the pelvic cavity after low rectal resection using vacuum closure (VAC) with a gastroscope, and we establish factors that determine the success of closure and analyzed the rate of ileostomy closure after leakage was resolved. Patients and Methods. This is a descriptive case series analysis conducted at a tertiary hospital. Twenty-two patients with low colorectal anastomosis leakage or opening of the rectal stump after anterior resection for rectal cancer were included. They were treated with VAC therapy. Results. The total number of endoscopic sessions was 3.1 ± 1.9 in the anterior resection with anastomosis group and 3.2 ± 1.8 in the Hartmann group. In 11 patients the therapy was administered in an ambulatory setting. The mean time to healing was 22.3 ± 14.7 days. Full resolution was achieved in 19 patients (followed-up 1 year). Ileostomy closure was carried out in 5 patients (38.46%) during follow-up. None of these patients showed leakage signs. Statistically significant differences were obtained depending on the onset of therapy, with better results in patients who underwent earlier vacuum-assisted therapy (before the sixth week after initial surgery), P = .041. Conclusions. VAC therapy is an alternative to surgery that can be safely administered in an ambulatory setting. Early administration in the 6 weeks following surgery is an independent predictive factor for successful closure; however, colonic transit was only recovered in a small percentage of patients.

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