Potentially avoidable surgery in inflammatory bowel disease: What proportion of patients come to resection without optimal preoperative therapy? A guidelines-based audit

J. Gapasin, D. R. Van Langenberg, G. Holtmann, D. J. Hetzel, J. M. Andrews

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Background: Recently, promulgated inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) guidelines seek to decrease the need for surgery by improving disease control. However, resection rates remain static. Aims: We therefore sought to determine the proportion of patients coming to surgery where preoperative management was not optimal according to guidelines. Methods: Case notes of all patients with resection surgery for IBD from January 2007 to March 2008 at a metropolitan teaching hospital were retrospectively reviewed. Judgement was made as to whether preoperative management was optimal or suboptimal depending on whether it met guidelines. Results: A total of 22 subjects with IBD-related resections were identified (15 males and seven females). In total, 17 had Crohn's disease (CD) (11 males) and five ulcerative colitis (UC) (four males). There were 10 smokers (nine CD and one UC). The two most common indications for surgery were inflammatory mass/abscess (n= 8) and refractory to medical therapy (n= 7). While all patients with known IBD (20/22) had seen a gastroenterologist in the past, five known IBD patients had resections undertaken without preoperative gastroenterologist input. Overall preoperative management was judged as optimal in only (9/22) 41%. Of those whose therapy did not meet guidelines (n= 13), five had azathioprine at doses <2mg/kg, one declined therapy and nine with CD were current smokers. Conclusions: Over 50% of IBD resection patients had suboptimal preoperative management, with sub-therapeutic thiopurine dosing and smoking in CD the main problems. Thus, there are significant gains to be made with better use of standard therapies, as it appears that ~50% of resection surgery was 'potentially avoidable'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e84-e88
Number of pages5
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Guidelines
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Optimising therapy
  • Resection surgery
  • Smoking
  • Thiopurines

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