BACKGROUND: Previous research has identified a number of patient and operative factors associated with anastomotic leak after colectomy; however, a study that examines these factors on a national level with direct coding for anastomotic leak is lacking. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this work was to identify risk factors associated with anastomotic leak on a national level and quantify the additional morbidity and mortality experienced by these patients. DESIGN: We performed a retrospective analysis of patients who underwent segmental colectomy with anastomosis from the 2012 American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program colectomy procedure-targeted database. Anastomotic leak was defined as minor leak requiring percutaneous intervention or major leak requiring laparotomy. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine predictors of anastomotic leak and its impact on postoperative outcomes. SETTINGS: This study was conducted at a tertiary university department. PATIENTS: This study includes 13,684 patients who underwent segmental colectomy with anastomosis at American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program-affiliated hospitals in 2012. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome studied was anastomotic leak. RESULTS: The overall leak rate was 3.8%. Male sex, steroid use, smoking, open approach, operative time, and preoperative chemotherapy were associated with increased anastomotic leaks and diverting ileostomy with decreased incidence of leaks on multivariate analysis. Increased length of stay (13 vs 5 days; p < 0.001) and increased 30-day mortality (6.8% vs 1.6%; p < 0.001) were also seen in patients who experienced leaks. These patients also experienced increased readmission rates (43.5% vs 8.3%; p < 0.001) and were 37 times more likely to require reoperation as a complication of their primary procedure (p < 0.001). LIMITATIONS: The main limitations of this study include its retrospective nature and the limited 30-day outcomes recorded in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. CONCLUSIONS: This study identified patient and operative risk factors for anastomotic leak on a national scale. It also demonstrates that these patients have increased morbidity and 30-day mortality rates, experience multiple readmissions to the hospital, and have a higher likelihood of requiring further operative intervention.
- Anastomotic leak
- Colon cancer