The epidemiology and treatment patterns of postoperative adhesion induced intestinal obstruction have been poorly investigated in Finland. This study evaluated the epidemiology and treatment patterns of postoperative adhesion induced intestinal obstruction in a well defined geographical area (Hospital District).
All inpatient episodes between 1.1.1999 and 31.12.1999 due to postoperative adhesion induced intestinal obstruction in Varsinais-Suomi Hospital District were evaluated retrospectively using individual patient records.
123 hospitalizations due to postoperative adhesion-related intestinal obstruction were observed during the study period. The total number of preceding operations was 176 considering altogether 101 patients. The most prevalent single initial operations causing adhesion induced intestinal obstruction were colorectal, upper abdominal, and female reproductive system procedures. Of all treatment episodes 32% were operative and mortality was 2%. The median days of hospital stay (range) of all inpatient episodes, operative episodes, and conservative episodes were 6 (1-58), 11 (2-34) and 4 (1-58), respectively. Patient dependent factors associated with increased likelihood to operative treatment of obstruction were: female gender (40% in females vs 23% in males, P = 0.042) and previous gynaecological surgery (70% of the patients, P = 0.032). Intraoperative findings were obstruction in 70%, strangulation in 20%, necrosis in 8%, and perforation in 2% of operations. Bowel resection was needed in 38% of operations. Preceding gynaecological surgery increased the likelihood of bowel strangulation as an intraoperative finding.
The epidemiology, treatment patterns and results of postoperative adhesion induced intestinal obstruction are of the average international level in the Varsinais-Suomi Hospital District. The treatment patterns among the different hospitals in the Hospital District are similar. Female gender is associated with increased risk for operative treatment of adhesive obstruction. Previous gynaecological surgery increases the likelihood of operative treatment and complicated obstruction.