Epidural analgesia and risk of anastomotic leakage

Department of Surgical Gastroenterology, Hvidovre University Hospital, Hvidovre, Denmark.
Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.12). 03/2001; 26(2):111-7. DOI: 10.1053/rapm.2001.21241
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Based on case reports of early anastomotic leakage in patients receiving epidural analgesia with local anesthetic and data to document a stimulatory effect of epidural block on gastrointestinal motility, it has been suggested that continuous infusion of epidural local anesthetic may lead to an increased incidence of anastomotic leakage. Therefore, we examined the association between continuous epidural local anesthetic and anastomotic leakage by reviewing the literature.
Review of controlled, randomized clinical trials aiming to investigate postoperative complications in which continuous postoperative epidural local anesthetic was administered in patients scheduled for colorectal surgery with an anastomosis. Data were obtained from a Medline search (1966-May 2000), previous review articles, references cited in original papers, and personal communication with investigators. Twelve trials including a total of 562 patients met the inclusion criteria.
Sixteen of 266 patients (6.0%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.5% to 9.6%) receiving postoperative epidural local anesthetic or epidural local anesthetic-opioid mixtures developed anastomotic leakage, compared with 10 of 296 patients (3.4%, 95% CI: 1.6% to 6.1%) receiving epidural or systemic opioid-based analgesia (P >.05 between groups, Fisher's test). The risk of overlooking a significant difference (type II error) was approximately 67% (power: 33%). Studies including more than 1,037 patients in each group are needed to demonstrate an increased risk of anastomotic leakage from 3.4% to 6.0% with 80% power and 2alpha = 0.05. There was no significant difference (P >.05 between groups, Fisher's test) between subgroups of study design: Epidural local anesthetic-versus systemic or epidural opioid, or epidural local anesthetic-opioid mixtures versus systemic or epidural opioid.
So far, there is no statistically significant evidence from randomized trials to indicate epidural analgesia with local anesthetic to be associated with an increased risk of anastomotic breakdown. However, relatively few patients have been included in randomized trials, indicating a need for more studies to secure valid conclusions.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Anastomotic leak (AL) represents a dreaded complication following colorectal surgery, with a prevalence of 1–19 per cent. There remains a lack of consensus regarding factors that may predispose to AL and the relative risks associated with them. The objective was to perform a systematic review of the literature, focusing on the role of preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative factors in the development of colorectal ALs.MethodsA systematic review was performed to identify adjustable and non-adjustable preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative factors in the pathogenesis of AL. Additionally, a severity grading system was proposed to guide treatment.ResultsOf 1707 papers screened, 451 fulfilled the criteria for inclusion in the review. Significant preoperative risk factors were: male sex, American Society of Anesthesiologists fitness grade above II, renal disease, co-morbidity and history of radiotherapy. Tumour-related factors were: distal site, size larger than 3 cm, advanced stage, emergency surgery and metastatic disease. Adjustable risk factors were: smoking, obesity, poor nutrition, alcohol excess, immunosuppressants and bevacizumab. Intraoperative risk factors were: blood loss/transfusion and duration of surgery more than 4 h. Stomas lessen the consequences but not the prevalence of AL. In the postoperative period, CT is the most commonly used imaging tool, with or without rectal contrast, and a C-reactive protein level exceeding 150 mg/l on day 3–5 is the most sensitive biochemical marker. A five-level classification system for AL severity and appropriate management is presented.Conclusion Specific risk factors and their potential correction or indications for stoma were identified. An AL severity score is proposed to aid clinical decision-making.
    British Journal of Surgery 02/2015; 102(5). DOI:10.1002/bjs.9697 · 4.84 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The objective of this review was to systematically assess the effect of thoracic epidural analgesia (TEA) vs. systemic analgesia (SA) on the recovery of gastrointestinal (GI) function in patients following GI surgery. We performed a comprehensive literature search to identify randomized controlled trials of adult patients undergoing GI surgery, comparing the effect of two postoperative analgesia regimens. Patients postoperatively receiving local anesthesia-based TEA with or without opioids were compared to patients receiving opioid-based SA. The outcomes considered were times to GI function recovery, GI complications, and specific side effects. Twelve studies with 331 patients in the TEA group and 319 in the SA group were included. Compared to SA, TEA improved the GI recovery after GI procedures by shortening the time to first passage of flatus by 31.3 h, 95% confidence intervals (CIs): -33.2 to -29.4, P < 0.01; and shortening the time to first passage of stool by 24.1 h, 95% CIs: -27.2 to -20.9, P < 0.001. There was no difference between the groups in the incidence of anastomotic leakage and ileus. The occurrence of postoperative hypotension was relatively higher in the TEA group, risk ratio: 7.9, 95% CIs: 2.4 to 26.5, P = 0.001; other side effects (such as pruritus and vomiting) were similar in the two groups. There is evidence that TEA (compared to SA) improves the recovery of GI function after GI procedures without any increased risk of GI complications. To further confirm these effects, larger, better quality randomized controlled trials with standard outcome measurements are needed.
    Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica 07/2014; 58(8). DOI:10.1111/aas.12375 · 2.36 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Four-dimensional (4D) ultrasound scanning (3D real-time mode) can improve the orientation of the anatomy of the area of interest and navigation by controlling the needle position. The objectives of this study were to identify the optimal technique for navigation and to assess clinically the efficacy of 4D ultrasound navigation for epidural anaesthesia at lower thoracic and lumbar levels. Design Single-centre case series study was performed. Methods Sixteen patients were included. First, conventional 2D scanning was performed, followed by 4D reconstruction, and the basic tissues with high acoustic impedance (bone structures) and available acoustic windows were determined. Movement of the needle was controlled on the sagittal plane in 2D mode and at the same time in 4D mode (3D real-time mode). To improve the visibility of the needle, the 3D reconstruction was rotated during manipulation. Results The 4D scanning mode provided 100 % visibility of compact bone tissues and 93 % visibility of the posterior complex. Needle visualisation strongly depended on the rotation of the reconstructed image with the sensor remaining motionless. The needle was redirected in one patient (7 %) because it was in contact with the vertebral lamina. Dilation of the epidural space during saline injection was observed in five patients (36 %). A change in the puncture level was not required any patients; no complications associated with epidural puncture were observed. Conclusions Ultrasound navigation in 4D could improve epidural anaesthesia due to the enhanced spatial orientation of the operator. The technique of “position contrast” should be used for reliable needle visualisation.
    12/2014; DOI:10.1007/s40477-014-0150-1