The open abdomen (OA) is an important approach for managing intra-abdominal catastrophes and continues to be the standard of care. Despite this, challenges remain with it associated with a high incidence of complications and poor outcomes. The objective of this article is to perform a systematic review in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines to identify prognostic factors in OA patients in regard to definitive fascial closure (DFC), mortality and intra-abdominal complications.METHODS
An electronic database search was conducted involving Medline, Excerpta Medica, Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cumulative Index to Nursing, and Allied Health Literature and Clinicaltrials.gov. All studies that described prognostic factors in regard to the above outcomes in OA patients were eligible for inclusion. Data collected were synthesized by each outcome of interest and assessed for methodological quality.RESULTS
Thirty-one studies were included in the final synthesis. Enteral nutrition, organ dysfunction, local and systemic infection, number of reexplorations, worsening Injury Severity Score, and the development of a fistula appeared to significantly delay DFC. Age and Adult Physiology And Chronic Health Evaluation version II score were predictors for in-hospital mortality. Failed DFC, large bowel resection and >5 to 10 L of intravenous fluids in <48 hours were predictors of enteroatmospheric fistula. The source of infection (small bowel as opposed to colon) was a predictor for ventral hernia. Large bowel resection, >5 to 10 and >10 L of intravenous fluids in <48 hours were predictors of intra-abdominal abscess. Fascial closure on (or after) day 5 and having a bowel anastomosis were predictors for anastomotic leak. Overall methodological quality was of a moderate level.LIMITATIONS
Overall methodological quality, high number of retrospective studies, low reporting of prognostic factors and the multitude of factors potentially affecting patient outcome that were not analyzed.CONCLUSION
Careful selection and management of OA patients will avoid prolonged treatment and facilitate early DFC. Future research should focus on the development of a prognostic model.LEVEL OF EVIDENCE
Systematic review, level III.