Article

Current choices--good or bad--for the proactive management of postoperative ileus: A surgeon's view.

Rush Medical College, Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.
Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing (Impact Factor: 0.89). 05/2006; 21(2A Suppl):S7-15. DOI: 10.1016/j.jopan.2006.01.008
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Postoperative ileus (POI) is frequently experienced by many patients undergoing abdominal operations and other surgical procedures. Postoperative ileus causes physical discomfort and may increase risk for prolonged hospital length of stay. Despite its prevalence, there is currently no accepted standard definition of POI and, consequently, no standardized mode of prevention or treatment; it is no wonder that a variety of management approaches for POI have been developed. Some of these include alternative surgical techniques such as laparoscopic or endoscopic procedures to minimize trauma and help lessen the release of endogenous mediators of POI. Others have evaluated alternate analgesic regimens such as thoracic epidural anesthetics to avoid stimulating opioid receptors in the gut. These approaches have had varying results. Other pharmacologic attempts to reduce POI have focused on the blockade of opioid receptors to prevent opioid-induced GI-related adverse effects. A new class of agents, peripherally acting mu-opioid-receptor antagonists such as methylnaltrexone and alvimopan, may improve the pharmacologic management of POI and reshape the current paradigm of multimodal management of POI. Protocols that incorporate these agents may offer yet another avenue to mitigate the adverse effects of POI, and thus help improve surgical outcomes. To date, alvimopan has been shown in phase 3 clinical trials to significantly reduce the duration of POI while maintaining satisfactory analgesia and reducing length of hospital stay. Combinations of strategies with demonstrated effectiveness such as early feeding, epidural analgesia, laparoscopic surgery, and peripherally acting mu-opioid-receptor antagonists may help transform the management of POI into an effective multimodal paradigm that targets the diverse etiologic factors leading to this common clinical problem. Clearly, all surgical team members are crucial in the optimal implementation of such multimodal approaches.

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