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Effectiveness of Diagnostic Paracentesis and Ascites Analysis for Suspected Strangulation Obstruction

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Strangulation obstruction is a surgical emergency, but its accurate diagnosis and timely surgical treatment are still matters of debate. We conducted a prospective observational study. We performed diagnostic paracentesis preoperatively for patients with suspected strangulation obstruction or, if that was impossible, we obtained ascites at the time of laparotomy. We examined each specimen to see whether ascites color and laboratory parameters could be reliable indicators of strangulation obstruction. During 18 months, 32 patients had suspected strangulation obstruction. At laparotomy, we confirmed strangulation obstruction in 21 patients, simple obstruction in two patients, and pseudo-obstruction in one patient. We treated eight patients conservatively, including one patient with a complication. We identified ascites red blood cell count, hematocrit, and lactic acid as indicators for strangulation obstruction by univariate analysis. An ascites red blood cell count was statistically high in cases with strangulation obstruction by multivariate analysis. Ascites red blood cell count above 20,000/mm3 had a positive predictive value for strangulation obstruction of 100%, and above 40,000/mm3, bowel resection was highly necessary. Diagnostic paracentesis and ascites analysis are useful methods for diagnosis of strangulation obstruction. Diagnostic paracentesis and ascites analysis should be combined with careful clinical exams for diagnosis of strangulation obstruction.

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The authors would like to thank all the surgical attending physicians and residents at Okinawa Chubu Hospital for their dedication and hard work in managing the study. The authors would also like to thank all the colleagues who managed the database.

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Correspondence to Shin Kobayashi.

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Kobayashi, S., Matsuura, K., Matsushima, K. et al. Effectiveness of Diagnostic Paracentesis and Ascites Analysis for Suspected Strangulation Obstruction. J Gastrointest Surg 11, 240–246 (2007).

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