The clinical and economical impact of postoperative ileus in patients undergoing colorectal surgery

Emmeline G. Peters, Madhuri Pattamatta, Boudewijn J. J. Smeets, Daan J. Brinkman, Silvia M. A. A. Evers, Wouter J. de Jonge, Mickael Hiligsmann, Misha D. P. Luyer*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Colorectal surgery is associated with postoperative ileus (POI). Despite its widespread manifestation, the influence of POI on recovery, quality of life (QoL), and costs is largely unknown. The aim of this study was to assess whether the inflammatory processes found in experimental studies are also evident in patients undergoing colorectal surgery. In addition, the impact of POI on short and long-term QoL and costs was investigated.

Methods: We analyzed the outcomes of the SANICS-II trial, including prospective evaluation of inflammatory parameters in blood samples, costs from a societal perspective and QoL, using validated questionnaires. Outcomes were compared between patients with and without POI, and in particular patients with POI as unique complication.

Key Results: A total of 265 patients (POI, n = 66 vs non-POI, n = 199) were included and 38/66 had POI as only complication. CRP levels were significantly increased on postoperative day (POD) 1, 2, 3, and 4 in patients with POI. Furthermore, plasma levels of cytokines IL- 6, Il-8 and IL-10 were significantly increased the first 2 days after resection. Patients with POI had a higher overall complication rate and a reduced QoL 3 months postoperatively, even in the only POI group. Moreover, mean societal cost per patient with POI was 38%-47% higher at 3 months postoperatively.

Conclusions & Inferences: Supporting findings from experimental studies, inflammatory parameters were increased in patients with only POI and comparable with all patients with POI. These results demonstrate the impact and large contribution of POI in postoperative inflammation, costs and QoL in patients undergoing colorectal surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13862
Number of pages11
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • inflammation
  • postoperative ileus
  • quality of life
  • societal costs

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