Evidence of negative pressure therapy for anastomotic leak: a systematic review

Gary Sharp, Daniel Steffens, Cherry E Koh
ANZ Journal of Surgery 2021 January 22

BACKGROUND: Anastomotic leak (AL) is a devastating complication. Several new treatment options are available, endoluminal negative pressure therapy is one. The aims of this systematic review are; to report success rates and stoma closure rates following endoluminal negative pressure therapy in colorectal AL patients.

METHODS: A systematic review of MEDLINE, PubMed, Cochrane and Embase databases from inception to June 2018. Search limits were; English language, humans, sample >5 and >18 years. Search terms were Endospong* OR Endo-spong* OR Endo spong* OR Endoluminal negative pressure OR Endoluninal vac* OR Vacuum assisted OR negative pressure. Combined with colon OR rectum OR colorect* AND anastomotic leak OR leak*.

RESULTS: Twenty articles met inclusion criteria. There were 334 patients. Reported success rates ranged from 60% to 100%. However, success definition varied considerably. The most widely used definition was endoscopic assessment of residual cavity size, but this also varied from 0.5 cm to 3 cm. Stoma closure rates were only reported in 11 studies and ranged from 31% to 100%. Complication rates were reported in 13 studies (65%). The most common was on-going sepsis.

CONCLUSIONS: Included studies suggest that 60-100% of ALs heal with endoluminal negative pressure therapy. However, results from this review need to be interpreted with caution because of the variable definition of success. A more objective assessment of success may be stoma closure but this is only reported in 60% of studies. Further studies are needed to assess the benefit of negative pressure therapy in anastomotic leaks.

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