Gastrojejunocolic fistula: case report of a rare late complication of laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and review of the literature

Int J Surg Case Rep. 2021 Jul;84:106152. doi: 10.1016/j.ijscr.2021.106152. Epub 2021 Jun 29.


Introduction: Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB) is known as the weight loss surgery to which other bariatric procedures are compared. While morbidity and mortality of this procedure are low, serious complications do exist which can be life-threatening and sometimes require surgical correction.

Case presentation: A 63-year-old woman underwent LRYGB outside of the United States, later complicated by biliary colic treated with cholecystectomy and upper gastrointestinal bleeding secondary to H. pylori-related ulcer at her gastrojejunostomy. Following adequate treatment of the patients marginal ulcer, the patient experienced several months of progressive severe abdominal pain, frequent vomiting and diarrhea, and unintentional weight loss refractory to pharmacologic therapy. The patient underwent multiple medical and endoscopic evaluations unrevealing of an organic cause of her symptoms. At presentation, the patient was found to be profoundly weak, dehydrated and malnourished with metabolic derangements and was subsequently diagnosed with a gastrojejunocolic fistula via upper endoscopy and radiography. We provided excluded stomach gastrostomy tube feeding to the patient for three months to improve the patients nutritional status before definitive surgical correction was successfully performed.

Discussion: Large bowel fistulas are a rare and highly morbid late complication following LRYGB and are likely secondary to marginal ulcers and/or instrumentation such as endoscopy. Surgery represents the definitive treatment.

Conclusion: LRYGB is typically a safe and effective intervention for obesity. Large bowel fistulas are rare complications following this surgery. We highlight difficulties in diagnosing and treating this condition.

Keywords: Bariatric; Case report; Fistula; Gastric bypass.