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: 0.94). 05/2006; 21(2A Suppl):S7-15. DOI: 10.1016/j.jopan.2006.01.008
Source: PubMed


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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    ABSTRACT: Postoperative ileus (POI) is defined as the impairment of bowel motility that occurs almost universally after major open abdominal procedures, as well as other abdominal and nonabdominal procedures. For the majority of affected patients, POI generally lasts approximately three to five days, but longer duration is not uncommon. The causes of POI are multifactorial, but can be broadly categorized into two groups: those related to the surgical procedure and those related to pharmacologic interventions (opioids). The fact that POI is generally transient and therefore self-limited should not deter the surgical team from seeking improved ways to mitigate its associated adverse effects, which can be substantial and immensely uncomfortable for the patient, and can have far-reaching implications regarding overall hospitalization costs for many types of surgeries. Optimization of POI management and prevention efforts is a responsibility of all members of the surgical team and can drastically affect the overall clinical outcome of major abdominal surgery. Depending on the individual team member's role, different perspectives and strategies may be used to achieve improved outcomes, including but not limited to hospitalization costs related to care and length of stay, resource utilization, and, perhaps most critically, patient quality of life not only immediately after surgery but also after discharge. The ability to reliably and significantly decrease the duration of POI should be readily recognized as an important objective in the management of this condition. Opioids will continue to be a mainstay of postoperative care regimens, but new agents such as peripherally acting mu-opioid-receptor antagonists may offer a unique clinical advantage by helping to reduce the adverse gastrointestinal effects of opioids while preserving their desired benefits for postoperative analgesia.
    No preview · Article · May 2006 · Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing
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    ABSTRACT: Postoperative ileus (POI), an interruption of coordinated bowel motility after operation, is exacerbated by opioids used to manage pain. Alvimopan, a peripherally acting mu-opioid receptor antagonist, accelerated gastrointestinal (GI) recovery after bowel resection in randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter phase III POI trials. The effect of alvimopan on POI-related morbidity for patients who underwent bowel resection was evaluated in a post-hoc analysis. Incidence of POI-related postoperative morbidity (postoperative nasogastric tube insertion or POI-related prolonged hospital stay or readmission) was analyzed in four North American trials for placebo or alvimopan 12 mg administered 30 minutes or more preoperatively and twice daily postoperatively until hospital discharge (7 or fewer postoperative days). GI-related adverse events and opioid consumption were summarized for each treatment. Estimations of odds ratios of alvimopan to placebo and number needed to treat (NNT) to prevent one patient from experiencing an event of POI-related morbidity were derived from the analysis. Patients receiving alvimopan 12 mg were less likely to experience POI-related morbidity than patients receiving placebo (odds ratio = 0.44, p < 0.001). Fewer patients receiving alvimopan (alvimopan, 7.6%; placebo, 15.8%; NNT = 12) experienced POI-related morbidity. There was a lower incidence of postoperative nasogastric tube insertion, and other GI-related adverse events on postoperative days 3 to 6 in the alvimopan group than the placebo group. Opioid consumption was comparable between groups. Alvimopan 12 mg was associated with reduced POI-related morbidity compared with placebo, without compromising opioid-based analgesia in patients undergoing bowel resection. Relatively low NNTs are clinically meaningful and reinforce the potential benefits of alvimopan for the patient and health care system.
    No preview · Article · May 2007 · Journal of the American College of Surgeons
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    ABSTRACT: Postoperative ileus (POI), a transient cessation of coordinated bowel motility after surgery, is an important factor in extending the length of hospital stay. The etiology of POI is multifactorial, and related to both the surgical and anesthetic pathways chosen. Additionally, opioids used to manage non-cancer-related and cancer-related chronic pain may also decrease gastrointestinal (GI) motility resulting in opioid-induced bowel dysfunction (OBD). Postoperative ileus has been associated with prolonged hospital stay and readmission, and thus may increase the overall hospital costs per patient with POI. Alvimopan, a peripherally acting mu-opioid receptor antagonist, accelerated time to GI recovery and reduced postoperative hospital length of stay in phase III POI clinical trials and improved symptoms of OBD compared with placebo in phase II/III clinical trials. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently evaluating alvimopan for the management of POI after bowel resection. Alvimopan may provide clinically meaningful benefits to patients and may lower the economic burden of POI to the healthcare system.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2007 · Drugs of today (Barcelona, Spain: 1998)
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