Objective: Prolonged use of immunosuppressive medication to avoid surgery is becoming more common in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, with severe or fulminant colitis. The effect of immunosuppression on postoperative outcomes was reviewed. Method: Patients undergoing subtotal colectomy (STC) for fulminant or toxic colitis from 1992 to 2006 were studied to define the effect of immunosuppression (IS) on postoperative complications (POCs). Patient characteristics, diagnosis, operative indication, details of surgery, use of IS, and POC's were reviewed and univariate and multivariate analysis was performed. Results: Eighty-nine patients were studied (55 males). Seventy-two (91%) patients had fulminant colitis and 17 (20%) had toxic colitis. The preoperative diagnosis was ulcerative colitis in 74, indeterminate in 10, and Crohn's disease in five patients. Eighty-two (92%) patients were on some form of immunosuppression, and 14 had a perforation at surgery. Thirty-nine (43.8%) patients experienced a POC. There was no operative mortality. Univariate analysis identified perforation (P = 0.048) and length of surgery (P = 0.002) as predictive of POCs, while multivariate analysis failed to identify a predictor of complications. Conclusion: There was no association between immunosuppression and postoperative complications. Complications in this setting are a result of the severity of the inflammatory bowel disease.
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