Background: A primary anastomosis after resection of the sigmoid colon for suspected acute complicated diverticular disease has the advantage of saving the patient a secondary operation for restoring bowel continuity. Fear of anastomotic leakage often deters surgeons from making a primary anastomosis.
Methods: A series of 45 patients who underwent primary anastomosis was studied prospectively to evaluate the feasibility of a primary anastomosis following acute sigmoid resection. Acute Physiology And Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score, Mannheim Peritonitis Index (MPI) and Hughes' peritonitis classification were used to classify patients and to detect factors predictive of postoperative outcome. Death, anastomotic leakage and septic complications were main outcome measures.
Results: Neither anastomotic leakage (four of 45 patients) nor death (three of 45) was related to a higher MPI, APACHE II or Hughes' score. More postoperative septic complications were seen in patients with a MPI over 16. Death, anastomotic leakage, reintervention and wound infection were observed more frequently in patients who presented with colonic obstruction than in those with abscess or perforation.
Conclusion: Primary anastomosis is safe and effective in non-obstructed cases of complicated diverticular disease. Colonic obstruction seems to be a risk factor for the development of postoperative complications.