, Volume 387, Issue 2, pp 67-71
Date: 30 May 2002

Subtotal colectomy with primary ileorectostomy is effective for unlocalized, diverticular hemorrhage

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Background. A large proportion of patients with acute colonic diverticular bleeding undergo emergency surgery without successful prior localization of the bleeding site. This study sought to determine the surgical techniques of choice for unlocalized, diverticular hemorrhage.

Methods. We reviewed the data on 42 consecutive patients (median age 76 years, range 44–91) with acute colonic diverticular bleeding operated on between November 1993 and December 2000. Mean follow-up was 4.1 years.

Results. Preoperative localization of the bleeding site was possible in six patients (14%), by colonoscopy in two and by angiography in four. Ten patients underwent segmental colectomy with primary anastomosis (5 "directed", 5 "blind") and 32 subtotal colectomy with primary ileorectostomy (1 "directed", 31 "blind"). Subtotal colectomy is the more extensive surgical procedure (longer resected bowel, greater blood loss), and although it was performed in older patients, there were no significant differences between segmental and subtotal colectomy with respect to operation time, morbidity, mortality, hospital stay, number of bowel movements, continence scores, rebleeding rate, or patient satisfaction.

Conclusions. Subtotal colectomy with primary ileorectostomy for unlocalized colonic diverticular bleeding is a safe and effective surgical procedure providing complete bleeding control and preserving continence.

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