RESEARCH SUPPORT, N.I.H., EXTRAMURAL
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The effect of damage control laparotomy on major abdominal complications: A matched analysis.

INTRODUCTION: Damage control laparotomy (DCL) for trauma is thought to be associated with increased abdominal complications. The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of DCL on abdominal complications by comparing two groups of trauma patients: DCL patients who were prospectively adjudicated to potentially being closed at the primary laparotomy (potential DEF or pDEF) and those who underwent definitive laparotomy (DEF).

METHODS: The pDEF group was matched to DEF patients according to mechanism of injury, abdominal injury severity, operating room transfusions, and performance of a colon resection. The primary outcome was major abdominal complications (MAC), a composite variable.

RESULTS: No statistically significant difference in the primary outcome, major abdominal complications, were seen (pDEF 19% versus DEF 56%, p = 0.066). The pDEF group was more likely to have a fascial dehiscence (38% versus 0%, p = 0.018), and to be re-opened after fascial closure (38% versus 0%, p = 0.018).

CONCLUSION: Damage control laparotomy was associated with clinically but not statistically significant increase in rates of MAC. Increased numbers of patients to analyze in this fashion is needed.

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