Emergency operation in carcinomas of the left colon: value of Hartmann’s procedure
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Colonic resection according to the procedure by Hartmann is considered a fast and safe surgical intervention, which has been used for years, in particular, in emergency situations.
Using data of a prospective multicentre study on the operative treatment of colorectal carcinoma over the time period from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2002, the value of Hartmann’s procedure was investigated in carcinoma of the left colon (n=8825) compared with alternative surgical options under emergency circumstances. The significant impact of independent variables on the type of the selected approach was determined by means of logistic regression.
While in total 422 primary Hartmann’s procedures (4.8%) were executed under curative intention, 213 (50.5%) of those were carried out in emergency situations. Hartmann’s procedure was beneficial in cases with tumour-associated obstruction and perforation of the left colon as it resulted in the lowest mortality (7.5%) of the radical operations. Even under palliative intention, Hartmann’s procedure was preferred at the left colon but led to a postoperative mortality (32.7%) very similar to that in creation of a colostoma (33.3%) or segmental colonic resection (38.9%).
Hartmann’s procedure has been widely accepted as a curative intervention in emergency cases (oncosurgically adequate R0 resection) for the carcinoma of the left colon. Because of the high postoperative morbidity and mortality in emergency situations with only palliative options (R0 resection not possible), alternative endoscopic treatment should be considered more frequently.