Appropriate use of the day care unit for rigid endoscopy of the upper aerodigestive tract.
Whinney D. Vowles R. Harries M.
Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital, London.
There is increasing pressure for more day surgery to be undertaken in the health service. In this retrospective study of 325 rigid upper aerodigestive tract endoscopies performed in the Day Care Unit of The Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital, London, there were no post-discharge complications and only four patients required admission, none were, in our opinion, the direct result of day case rigid endoscopy. In our unit, the day case rate for microlaryngeal surgery is 44.8%, showing that rates significantly higher than published national rates of 17.1% (1993/1994) are achievable. We conclude that day case microlaryngeal surgery and diagnostic rigid endoscopy of the upper aerodigestive tract is safe if performed by suitably qualified staff in dedicated specialist units with patients selected according to existing day case criteria.
Iatrogenic oesophageal perforations: a clinical review.
Lawrence DR. Moxon RE. Fountain SW. Ohri SK. Townsend ER.
Department of Thoracic Surgery, Harefield Hospital, Middlesex.
Thirty patients with iatrogenically induced perforation of the oesophagus were managed in our unit between January 1986 and December 1996. Thirteen (43%) of these injuries were referred after upper gastrointestinal endoscopy performed by physicians. Ten (33%) cases were referred by ENT surgeons and general surgeons referred 7 (23%) cases. Of these patients, 15 (50%) had no abnormality of the oesophagus found before perforation. Only 18 (60%) of patients were referred within 24 h of injury. The mean duration of care required in the intensive care unit was 1.5 days +/- 2.5 days and the mean inpatient hospital stay 26.5 days +/- 22.1 days. The mortality was 10% (three cases). Oesophageal perforation remains a serious life-threatening injury. The early diagnosis of this uncommon condition requires a high index of suspicion as the symptoms are often non-specific. Identification of the site of perforation is necessary as the management of cervical and thoracic perforations differs considerably. Early referral combined with appropriate therapy would appear to result in a better outcome than previously published data. It is therefore suggested that patients with this relatively rare condition should be referred as soon as possible to a centre with expertise in its management.
Is the incidence of acute appendicitis really falling?
Williams NM. Jackson D. Everson NW. Johnstone JM.
Department of Surgery, Leicester Royal Infirmary.
To determine if there has been a genuine fall in the incidence of acute appendicitis, an epidemiological study using HAA and Korner datasets for the years 1975-1994 was carried out to identify those children and young adults undergoing appendicectomy for acute appendicitis. The overall incidence of acute appendicitis fell from 1.84/1000 to 1.17/1000. This fall was statistically significant (R2 = 0.74, P < 0.01). The decrease was significant in both males (overall reduction, 34%) and females (overall reduction, 40%). No significant reduction was observed in either males or females between 15 and 19 years of age. The overall reduction remains essentially unexplained, but may have implications for health planning and provision of services.
Metabolic and inflammatory responses after laparoscopic and open inguinal hernia repair.
Akhtar K. Kamalky-asl ID. Lamb WR. Laing I. Walton L. Pearson RC. Parrott NR.
University Department of Surgery, Manchester Royal Infirmary.
A prospective comparison of metabolic and inflammatory responses after laparoscopic and open inguinal hernia operations was undertaken. There were 10 patients in each group. Plasma levels of cortisol, growth hormone, prolactin, C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) were measured preoperatively and at fixed intervals up to 120 h postoperatively. In vitro, endotoxin stimulated whole blood tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) was measured in preoperative and 24 h postoperative blood samples. Changes in the plasma levels of cortisol, growth hormone and prolactin showed no statistically significant difference between the groups. No significant change in IL-6 levels were recorded in any group. Changes in CRP levels were significantly higher (P < 0.006) in open hernia patients. Endotoxin stimulated TNF alpha production was suppressed in both groups. The degree of suppression in open hernia patients was significantly higher (P < 0.005). This study has shown that both these operations produce similar stress responses. However, open hernia operation results in a higher acute phase response and induces a greater endotoxin tolerance.
One-stop rectal bleeding clinics without routine flexible sigmoidoscopy are unsafe.
Toomey P. Asimakopoulos G. Zbar A. Kmiot W.
Colorectal Surgery Unit, Hammersmith Hospital, London.
Over 90% of patients referred to surgeons for investigation of rectal bleeding have haemorrhoids, fissure-in-ano or proctitis. Full investigation of these patients to exclude colonic neoplasia or inflammatory bowel disease imposes a considerable load on a hospital's resources as well as exposing the patient to significant inconvenience and morbidity. A 'one-stop' outpatient clinic was established, with selective use of flexible sigmoidoscopy, based on the judgement and clinical findings of a single experienced surgeon. Over a 4 month period, 344 patients were assessed, and 326 were identified as not needing flexible sigmoidoscopy. At 3 and 6 monthly follow-up, 22 presented with persistent rectal bleeding and three previously unidentified cancers were found on performance of flexible sigmoidoscopy. If a 'one-stop' policy is to be used in the management of rectal bleeding, routine flexible sigmoidoscopy is essential for all patients.
Posterior sagittal proctectomy.
Stringer MD. Crabbe DC.
United Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.
Rectal excision for non-malignant conditions using a posterior sagittal approach is described in three patients. The technique allows excellent exposure of the rectum, meticulous haemostasis, minimal risk of pelvic nerve injury and accurate reconstruction of the pelvic floor without the need for drainage.
Extended lymphadenectomy in gastric cancer: when, for whom and why.
Department of Surgery, Medical School, University of Ioannina, Greece.
Although lymph node metastasis is a major prognostic factor in gastric cancer, the optimal extent of lymph node dissection still remains a subject of debate. The influence of extended D2 lymphadenectomy on morbidity and long-term survival is controversial. Reports from many Japanese and some Western institutions show similar morbidity and mortality rates for both limited D1 and extended D2 resections. However, the four available randomised trials show a significant increase in operative morbidity and mortality after a D2 resection. The authors of these trials believe that distal pancreaticosplenectomy is responsible for this increased morbidity and mortality and not the lymphadenectomy itself. Retrospective and prospective non-randomised studies show superior stage (II/IIIA) specific survival rates after D2 resections. However, these studies did not eliminate stage migration and randomised trials failed to show any survival advantage in favour of the D2 resection. Current data suggest that D2 resection is beneficial to the subgroup of patients with N1 or N2 disease undergoing potentially curative resection. However, Western studies that support D2 resection, fail to show any survival advantage for D2 resection in N2 patients, reporting a benefit only to N0 or N1 patients. In contrast, Japanese series report a large number of N2 long-term survivors. The question as to the possible beneficial effect of extended lymphadenectomy in gastric cancer is difficult and complex. D2 resection increases the potentially curative resection rate, at least in N2 patients, achieves a better locoregional tumour control and provides the only chance for cure among N2 patients since adjuvant treatment in gastric carcinoma has not yet been proved effective. However, all randomised comparisons warn of an increased risk after D2 resection. By avoiding pancreaticosplenectomy, however, the morbidity can be within acceptable limits. D2 gastrectomy seems to be the most attractive procedure in the surgical management of gastric cancer.
Is cholecystectomy effective treatment for symptomatic gallstones? Clinical outcome after long-term follow-up.
Gui GP. Cheruvu CV. West N. Sivaniah K. Fiennes AG.
University Department of Surgery, St George's Hospital Medical School, London.
The expectation that cholecystectomy is effective treatment for symptomatic gallstones is not always achieved in surgical practice. The impact of cholecystectomy on the relief of gastrointestinal symptoms was evaluated in 92 patients followed up after surgery for a mean of 31.1 months (range 12-83 months). Abdominal pain continued to be present, or arose de novo, in 28 (30.4%) patients. Pain-free outcome after cholecystectomy was associated with a preoperative clinical diagnosis of biliary colic, fatty food intolerance, and a thick-walled gallbladder on ultrasound (P = 0.02). Logistic regression associated a thick-walled gallbladder, elevated gamma-glutamyl transpetidase, body mass index < 26, fat intolerance, and normal bowel habit with good postoperative results (P = 0.001). Application of each of these five factors to a clinical index failed to predict long-term pain-free outcome after cholecystectomy. Abdominal bloating (P = 0.03), dyspepsia (P < 0.001), heartburn (P < 0.007), fat intolerance (P < 0.001), nausea (P = 0.001) and vomiting (P < 0.001) were significantly improved after cholecystectomy, but diarrhoea, constipation and excessive flatus were not. Outcome benefit ratios confirmed that vomiting (0.96), nausea (0.87), dyspepsia (0.67), fat intolerance (0.57) and heartburn (0.51) were relieved by surgery. Cholecystectomy improved symptoms compared with a matched control group, suggesting that surgery remains the gold standard treatment of symptomatic gallstones.
Surgical peritonitis in the CAPD patient.
Miller GV. Bhandari S. Brownjohn AM. Turney JH. Benson EA.
Department of Surgery, General Infirmary at Leeds.
Peritonitis is the most frequent cause for emergency hospital admission in continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) patients. Patients may present with 'surgical' peritonitis from other intra-abdominal pathology, but are treated initially as CAPD-related peritonitis. We present nine such cases, each failing to respond to standard conservative treatment, and ultimately coming to laparotomy. Of the nine patients, six survived, five transferring to long-term haemodialysis and one patient returning to CAPD. Failure to respond to standard measures should alert the physician to the possibility of an intra-abdominal emergency. The presence of enteric organisms, particularly E. coli, is an additional suspicious feature. The diagnosis may be difficult and we recommend early surgical referral and appropriate surgical measures (laparotomy rather than simple catheter removal) in order to decrease morbidity and mortality.
A prospective audit of the usefulness of evacuating proctography.
Jones HJ. Swift RI. Blake H.
Department of Surgery, Mayday University Hospital, Thornton Health, Surrey.
Fifty-nine evacuating proctograms were performed over a 4 month period. We sought to identify how useful this technique is in diagnosing the cause of various anorectal symptoms and indicating which treatment option may be beneficial to the patient. The main reasons for referral were faecal soiling (60%) and obstructed defaecation (47%). Of the proctograms, 90% revealed some pathology. The most common abnormalities detected were rectocele (56%), rectal intussusception (39%), enterocele (19%) and rectal prolapse (12%). Of the patients, 45% were treated with an operation specific to the pathology detected on the proctogram; 29% did not require any active treatment and the remainder were managed with biofeedback conditioning or injection sclerotherapy. Evacuating proctography is of value in providing a diagnosis in patients with anorectal symptoms and thereby allowing specific treatment, operative or nonoperative, to be directed to the underlying pathology.
Hirschsprungs disease: present UK practice.
Department of Paediatric Surgery, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.
A postal survey was performed to assess the management by consultant members of the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons (BAPS) of a well neonate with Hirschsprung's disease (HD). Replies were received from 63 (84%) of the 75 consultant surgeons who operate on neonates with gastrointestinal problems. Twenty-six surgeons (41%) would aim to perform a primary pull through without colostomy, and 37 (51%) would stage the pull through, with stoma formation in the neonatal period. Timing of definitive surgery varied as did the choice of procedure (Soave 24%, Swenson 8%, Duhamel 62%, other 6%), but there was no evidence that surgical experience influenced the choice of operation. Most surgeons see 4-5 new cases of Hirschsprung's disease per year. This study shows great variation in operative procedures for the same clinical condition, and indicates the need for further audit.
Influence of injection site for low-dose heparin on wound complication rates after inguinal hernia repair.
Wright DM. O'Dwyer PJ. Paterson CR.
University Department of Surgery, Western Infirmary, Glasgow.
A high incidence of complications related to bleeding was observed after open prosthetic inguinal hernia repair. The site of injection of low-dose heparin into the abdominal wall was thought to be a possible causal factor for these complications. The wound complication rate after repair of primary unilateral inguinal hernias was recorded for 51 patients who had been given abdominal wall injections of heparin. Subsequently the injection site was changed to the upper limb in a further 63 patients and the incidence of wound complications recorded. A significantly higher incidence of haematomas and seromas was found in the abdominal wall injection group (39.2% vs 17.5%, P = 0.01). The role of low-dose heparin prophylaxis in inguinal hernia repair is discussed. We conclude that in those patients receiving heparin prophylaxis the injections should be given at a site remote from the operative area.