Perioperative predictors of colonic ischemia after ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm

J. A. Levison, V. J. Halpern, R. G. Kline, G. R. Faust, J. R. Cohen, J. A. Freischlag, S. Tomeh, C. K. Zarins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Purpose: Colonic ischemia and colonic resection occur frequently after ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (rAAA). The purpose of this study was to identify the perioperative risk factors that might help to determine earlier in the postoperative period which patients are at risk for colonic ischemia and colonic resection. Methods: The medical records of the 43 patients who underwent repair of rAAA from January 1989 to November 1997 were reviewed. The data were reviewed for the following factors: acidosis, pressor agents, lactate levels, guaiac status, cardiac index, coagulopathy, early postoperative bowel movement, the lowest intraoperative pH level, the temperature at the conclusion of the case, the location: and duration of aortic cross clamping, the amount of fluid boluses administered after surgery, the amount of packed red blood cells administered during the case, and the average systolic blood pressure at admission and during surgery. Univariate analysis was performed with Fisher exact test, χ2 test, and Student t test. Multivariate analyses also were performed with the variables that were found to be significant on the univariate analysis. Results: Thirteen of the 43 patients (30.2%) had colonic ischemia, and seven of the 13 underwent colonic resection (53.8%). The overall mortality rate was 51.2% (22/43) - five of the deaths were intraoperative and excluded from the study. In a comparison of the patients who had colonic ischemia with those who did not, statistically significant differences were found in the following variables: average systolic blood pressure at admission 90 mm Hg or less, hypotension of more than 30 minutes' duration, temperature less than 35 °C, pH less than 7.3, fluid boluses administered after surgery 5 L or more, and packed red blood cells 6 units or more. Multivariate analysis indicated that the number of these variables present correlated significantly with the positive predicted probability of colonic ischemia occurring. No patient with two factors or fewer had an ischemic bowel, and the positive predictive probability of colonic ischemia for those patients with six factors was 80%. Conclusion: The results of this study show that: (1) colonic ischemia after rAAA may be predicted with the presence of two or more specific perioperative factors, (2) the lack of a guaiac-positive bowel movement may be misleading for the early diagnosis of colonic ischemia, and (3) more than 50% of the patients with colonic ischemia will require a colonic resection. We recommend that any patient with rAAA with more than two perioperative factors undergo sigmoidoscopy every 12 hours after surgery for 48 hours to rule out colonic ischemia without waiting for early or guaiac-positive bowel movement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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