Intestinal anastomosis blowout following post-operative cardiopulmonary resuscitation: A case report
- Pneumoperitoneum; Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Bowel surgery; Anastomotic leak
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Background: Pneumoperitoneum following cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a very rare complication with a challenging management. In this paper we describe the management of a patient who suffered a blowout of his colorectal anastomosis after undergoing CPR for a cardiac arrest in the early post-operative period. Additionally, we present a thorough literature review of the management of CPR-related pneumoperitoneum.
Summary: Five days after a sigmoid resection for colon cancer, a 71-year-old male went into pulseless electrical activity and CPR was initiated, with complete clinical recovery. After CPR the patient was found to have new hydropneumothorax and pneumoperitoneum. Because he had a normal abdominal examination, lack of leukocytosis, and no evidence of a bowel perforation on water-soluble CT imaging, the patient was initially managed non-operatively with close clinical follow-up. However, he failed the non-operative management and ultimately required a laparotomy demonstrating a blowout of his colonic anastomosis.
Conclusion: Physicians should remain aware of the risk of damage to fresh bowel anastomoses following CPR. There should be a low threshold for surgical exploration in patients that develop CPR-related pneumoperitoneum soon after intestinal surgery, even when patient’s clinical status is stable.
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