Systematic review and meta-analysis of the open abdomen and temporary abdominal closure techniques in non-trauma patients

World J Surg. 2015 Apr;39(4):912-25. doi: 10.1007/s00268-014-2883-6.


Background: Several challenging clinical situations in patients with peritonitis can result in an open abdomen (OA) and subsequent temporary abdominal closure (TAC). Indications and treatment choices differ among surgeons. The risk of fistula development and the possibility to achieve delayed fascial closure differ between techniques. The aim of this study was to review the literature on the OA and TAC in peritonitis patients, to analyze indications and to assess delayed fascial closure, enteroatmospheric fistula and mortality rate, overall and per TAC technique.

Methods: Electronic databases were searched for studies describing the OA in patients of whom 50% or more had peritonitis of a non-traumatic origin.

Results: The search identified 74 studies describing 78 patient series, comprising 4,358 patients of which 3,461 (79%) had peritonitis. The overall quality of the included studies was low and the indications for open abdominal management differed considerably. Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) was the most frequent described TAC technique (38 of 78 series). The highest weighted fascial closure rate was found in series describing NPWT with continuous mesh or suture mediated fascial traction (6 series, 463 patients: 73.1%, 95% confidence interval 63.3-81.0%) and dynamic retention sutures (5 series, 77 patients: 73.6%, 51.1-88.1%). Weighted rates of fistula varied from 5.7% after NPWT with fascial traction (2.2-14.1%), 14.6% (12.1-17.6%) for NPWT only, and 17.2% after mesh inlay (17.2-29.5%).

Conclusion: Although the best results in terms of achieving delayed fascial closure and risk of enteroatmospheric fistula were shown for NPWT with continuous fascial traction, the overall quality of the available evidence was poor, and uniform recommendations cannot be made.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Wall / surgery*
  • Abdominal Wound Closure Techniques* / adverse effects
  • Cutaneous Fistula / etiology*
  • Fasciotomy
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Fistula / etiology*
  • Negative-Pressure Wound Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Peritonitis / surgery*
  • Surgical Mesh
  • Sutures