Colorectal surgery in cirrhotic patients: assessment of operative morbidity and mortality

Dis Colon Rectum. 2008 Aug;51(8):1225-31. doi: 10.1007/s10350-008-9336-y. Epub 2008 Jun 3.


Purpose: The morbidity from colorectal surgery can be high and increases for patients with cirrhosis of the liver. This study was designed to assess morbidity, mortality, and prognostic factors for patients with cirrhosis undergoing colorectal surgery.

Methods: From 1993 to 2006, 41 cirrhotic patients underwent 43 colorectal procedures and were included. Both univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify variables influencing morbidity and mortality.

Results: Postoperative morbidity was 77 percent (33/43). Postoperative mortality was 26 percent (11/43) among whom six patients (54 percent) underwent emergency surgery. Four factors influenced mortality on univariate analysis: presence of peritonitis (P < 0.05), postoperative complications (P < 0.04), postoperative infections (P < 0.01), and total colectomy procedures (P < 0.02). On multivariate analysis, the only factor influencing mortality was postoperative infection (P < 0.04). The only factor influencing morbidity was the existence of preoperative ascites (P < 0.04).

Conclusions: Colorectal surgery for cirrhotic patients has a high risk of morbidity and mortality. This risk is associated with the presence of infection, ascitic decompensation, and the urgent or extensive nature of the procedure. The optimization of patients through selection and preparation reduces operative risk.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Colorectal Surgery* / mortality
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric