[Treatment of malignant intestinal obstruction. A prospective study over 80 cases]

Ann Chir. 2005 Sep;130(8):470-6. doi: 10.1016/j.anchir.2005.05.011.
[Article in French]


Aim: Of the work: evaluation of a multidisciplinary strategy and a prospective medicosurgical protocol for the treatment of occlusion due to unresectable peritoneal carcinomatosis.

Patients and methods: All the included patients had occlusion and intraabdominal carcinomatosis. None could benefit a curative treatment. 75 patients were included for 80 episodes of intestinal obstruction. The protocol involved three successive therapeutic phases. (i) Treatment during five days by corticosteroids associated to antiemetic agents, anticholinergic antisecretory agents, and analgesics as needed (Phase I); (ii) In the event of refractory occlusive symptoms treatment by somatostatin analog during 3 days (phase II); (iii) If this treatment was ineffective a gastrostomy was performed (phase III).

Results: Median survival was 31 days. Outcome showed that for the 80 episodes of obstruction, phase I medical treatment enabled relief in 50 cases (63%) and phase II medical treatment (somatostatin) enabled relief in 11 cases (14%). 10 more patients (13%) were relieved by the gastrostomie and one by a duodenal endoprothesis. Symptom control without a long-term nasogastric tube was achieved for 72 of the 80 episodes (90%). Fifty-eight episodes (72% of overall total) were controlled for 10 days or less. Median time to gastrostomy was 17 days. Eight patients experienced persistent vomiting and required a nasogastric aspiration until death.

Conclusion: This multidisciplinary approach between Palliative Care and Specialized Medical and Surgical teams enabled relief of the occlusive symptoms for 90% of the patients of the study. The protocol was useful for the caregivers for the management of terminally ill patients. To enhance these results, it would be necessary to shorten the delay of relief, which has been longer than ten days for one third of the patients. The simplification of the protocol including two steps instead of three is on study.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Antiemetics / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Obstruction / etiology*
  • Intestinal Obstruction / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palliative Care*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / complications*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Terminal Care
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Analgesics
  • Antiemetics