Implementation of a small bowel obstruction protocol at an urban public hospital

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The purpose of this study is to describe our experience with the implementation of a protocol for small bowel obstruction (SBO).


A retrospective review of patients who presented with SBO between 1 March 2012 and 30 November 2014 were reviewed.


Between 1 March 2012 and 30 November 2014, the protocol was administered to 49 patients with SBO and 49 patients were treated conventionally. Operative rates for the protocol group and the non-protocol group were 6% and 18%, respectively (P = 0.06). Patients who received the protocol had an average hospital stay of 5.2 days. The non-protocol group had an average stay of 7.2 days (P = 0.34). Time from admission to operating room (OR) was 35.2 h for the protocol group and 161.2 h for those who did not receive the protocol (P = 0.57). Mean OR time was 2.6 h for the protocol group and 2.3 h for the non-protocol group (P = 0.68).


This study describes an urban public hospital's experience with a protocol for SBO. These findings suggest that an SBO protocol can be successfully implemented to decrease operative rates, length of stay, and time from admission to OR.

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