Purpose: Perforated diverticulitis with advanced generalized peritonitis is a life-threatening condition requiring emergency operation. To reduce the rate of colostomy formation, a new treatment algorithm with damage control operation, lavage, limited closure of perforation, abdominal vacuum-assisted closure (VAC; V.A.C.), and second look to restore intestinal continuity was developed.
Methods: This algorithm allowed for three surgical procedures: primary anastomosis +/- VAC in stable patients (group I), but damage control with lavage, limited resection of the diseased colonic segment, VAC and second-look operation with delayed anastomosis in patients with advanced peritonitis or septic shock (group II), and Hartmann procedure was done for social reasons in stable patients (group III) RESULTS: All 27 consecutive patients (16 women; median age 68 years) requiring emergency laparotomy for perforated diverticulitis (Hinchey III/IV) between October 2006 and September 2008 were prospectively enrolled in the study. No major complications were observed in group I (n = 6). Nine patients in group II (n = 15) had intestinal continuity restored during a second-look operation, of whom one patient developed anastomotic leakage. The median length of stay at intensive care unit was 5 days. Considering an overall mortality rate of 26% (n = 7), the rate of anastomosis in surviving patients was 70%.
Conclusions: Damage control with lavage, limited bowel resection, VAC, and scheduled second-look operation represents a feasible strategy in patients with perforated diverticulitis (Hinchey III and IV) to enhance sepsis control and improve rate of anastomosis.