Background/aims: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of Octreotide as an adjunct treatment to total parenteral nutrition in the spontaneous closure of postoperative enterocutaneous fistulas.
Methodology: Medical records of 39 patients with postoperative enterocutaneous fistulas treated in our Department between January 1988 and August 2000 were reviewed. Sixteen patients had duodenal fistulas and 23 had jejunal or ileal fistulas. According to the daily output, there were 20 low fistula output and 19 high fistula output. Conservative treatment consisted of nutritional support with total parenteral nutrition in all the patients. Administration of Octreotide (100 micrograms every 8 hours, subcutaneously) was done in 21 consecutive patients until spontaneous closure of the fistulas or their subsequent surgical closure. The occurrence of fistulas closure was compared using the Fisher's exact test.
Results: A mean reduction of 50% of fistula output was noted in all the patients who received Octreotide, within 24 hours of its administration. Spontaneous closure was achieved in 13 patients of the Octreotide group (mean closure time: 15.3 days, range: 6-35) and in 12 patients treated only with total parenteral nutrition (mean closure time: 13.9 days, range: 7-25); this difference was not significant (P = 0.5). Also, the fistula closure rate was not influenced by the anatomic site, the high or low output, and the age of the patient.
Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that, as an adjunct treatment to total parenteral nutrition, Octreotide reduces rapidly the fistula output without significant influence in the spontaneous closure rate.