Laparoscopic peritoneal lavage for generalized peritonitis due to perforated diverticulitis

E Myers, M Hurley, G C O'Sullivan, D Kavanagh, I Wilson, D C Winter
British Journal of Surgery 2008, 95 (1): 97-101

BACKGROUND: The standard approach to generalized peritonitis due to perforated diverticulitis involves open surgery and diversion of faecal content. This study assessed the feasibility of laparoscopic peritoneal lavage.

METHODS: A prospective multi-institutional study of 100 patients was undertaken. All consenting patients with perforated diverticulitis causing generalized peritonitis underwent attempted laparoscopic peritoneal lavage. The degree of peritonitis, according to the Hinchey grading system, was recorded. Primary endpoints were operative success and resolution of symptoms.

RESULTS: Patients had a median age of 62.5 (range 39-94) years, a male : female ratio of 2 : 1 and a median American Society of Anesthesiologists grade of III (range II-V). Eight patients with grade 4 diverticulitis had conversion to an open Hartmann's procedure. The remaining 92 patients were managed by laparoscopic lavage, with morbidity and mortality rates of 4 and 3 per cent respectively. Two patients required postoperative intervention for a pelvic abscess. Only two patients re-presented with diverticulitis at a median follow up of 36 (range 12-84) months.

CONCLUSION: Laparoscopic management of perforated diverticulitis with generalized peritonitis is feasible, with a low recurrence risk in the short term.

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