Survey among surgeons on surgical treatment strategies for secondary peritonitis

B. Lamme, M. A. Boermeester, R. de Vos, O. van Ruler, J. W. O. van Till, H. Obertop

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Background: There is controversy about performing either a planned relaparotomy ( PR) or relaparotomy on demand ( ROD) in patients with secondary peritonitis. Subjective factors influencing surgeons in decision making for either surgical treatment strategy have never been studied. Methods: All 858 surgeons of the Association of Surgeons of The Netherlands were sent a survey with 16 case vignettes simulating peritonitis patients and evaluating the preference for PR or ROD. Results: Sixty-two percent of surgeons responded to the survey. Of the returned surveys, 407 were eligible for evaluation. The responding surgeons had a slight overall preference for the ROD strategy, as shown by the mean overall preference score of 5.2 ( range 3.54 - 6.52, with a maximal score of 7). Gastrointestinal surgeons and surgeons working in regional and smaller hospitals were significantly more in favour of a ROD strategy than their counterparts. Factors significantly influencing the preference towards PR were ischaemia as aetiology and performing a primary anastomosis; as for ROD, it was small bowel as focus, local extent of contamination and the question whether abdominal closure was possible. However, there was a considerable variability in treatment decisions by surgeons. Conclusion: The majority of responding surgeons would make a choice for a particular treatment strategy based on peritonitis and surgical treatment characteristics. There was a slight overall preference towards the ROD strategy despite the considerable variability per case vignette. Copyright (C) 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-394
JournalDigestive surgery
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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