Background: Loop ileostomy or loop transverse colostomy for temporary decompression of a left colonic anastomosis represents an important issue in abdominal surgery.
Methods: A randomized study, comparing loop ileostomy (n = 37; group 1) or loop transverse colostomy (n = 39; group 2), was conducted. Patients were followed from construction to closure of the stoma.
Results: Age, weight, sex and indication for surgery were similar in both groups. After stoma construction complications were reported in nine of 37 patients in group 1 and in one of 39 in group 2 (P < 0.01), leading to postoperative death in five of 37 in group 1 and one of 39 in group 2. In the period between stoma construction and closure significant differences were observed only in prolapse rate (one of 32 group 1, 16 of 38 group 2; P < 0.01), need for temporary adaptation of clothing (eight of 32 group 1, 22 of 38 group 2; P < 0.01) and dietary guidelines (23 of 32 group 1, four of 38 group 2; P < 0.01). One patient died in group 1 and four in group 2; the deaths were not stoma related. After stoma closure eight of 29 patients in group 1 had complications and there were two deaths compared with three of 32 and no deaths in group 2.
Conclusion: Both types of stoma carry a high complication rate with a considerable associated mortality rate. The interval between stoma construction and closure has substantial impact on social and economic status. Based on all three phases studied, routine use of transverse colostomy is advised if decompression of the left colon is indicated.