Emergent right hemicolectomies

Amy D. Wyrzykowski*, David V. Feliciano, Timothy A. George, Lorraine N. Tremblay, Grace S. Rozycki, Todd W. Murphy, Christopher J. Dente, Kent W. Kercher, Ronald F. Sing, Charles M. Friel, R. Phillip Burns

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Emergent right hemicolectomies have historically been associated with surprisingly high morbidity and mortality rates. A retrospective review of emergent right hemicolectomies over a 7-year period was performed to assess current morbidity and mortality. Emergent right hemicolectomy was defined as a procedure performed for an acute abdomen with no formal preoperative cleansing of the colon. Demographic data, diagnostic evaluation, length of stay and outcomes were evaluated. Over the study period, 122 emergent right hemicolectomies were performed on both general surgery and trauma patients. The average patient was 52.9 ± 18.5 years old, and the majority of patients (66.4%) were male. The indications for the procedures performed were bowel perforation (51), hemorrhage (25), cancer (16), benign obstruction (14), phlegmon (8), ischemia (6), or other (2). Resection with primary anastomosis was performed in 98 patients, 16 had an end ileostomy, and 8 underwent damage control procedures in which gastrointestinal continuity was not reestablished at the time of the original operation. Postoperative complications developed in 48 patients (39.3%). The majority of the complications (83.3%) were related to infection including intra-abdominal abscess (21 patients), sepsis (16), and wound infection (5). Other complications included anastomotic leak (5), wound dehiscence (3), stoma-related (3) and postoperative bowel obstruction (2). The patients who developed complications did not differ from those who had an uneventful postoperative course in terms of age, indication for procedure, or presence of intraabdominal abscess or gross contamination at the time of the original procedure. The overall mortality rate was 13 per cent. Patients who died were older than those who lived (63 ± 19 vs 52 ± 18; P = 0.03) and were significantly more likely to have evidence of shock on presentation (P = 0.0013). Emergent right hemicolectomies continue to be associated with high morbidity and mortality rates. The most common complications are related to infection. Age and manifestations of shock at the time of admission are strong predictors of mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-657
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


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