Management of Perianal Sepsis in Immunosuppressed Patients

Munoz-Villasmil, Jose; Sands, Laurence; Hellinger, Michael
May 2001
American Surgeon;May2001, Vol. 67 Issue 5, p484
Academic Journal
Despite improvements in the supportive care of immunosuppressed patients controversy still surrounds the surgical management and outcome of anorectal sepsis in these patients. We reviewed 83 immunocompromised patients with diagnosis of perianal sepsis from 1995 to 1997. Sixty-six patients (80%) were followed for a mean of 15 months. Mean age was 44 years and 76 per cent were males. Twenty-eight per cent were HIV+, 34 per cent had inflammatory bowel disease on steroids, 20 per cent had malignancies, and 18 per cent had diabetes. Twenty-eight per cent had anal fistula, 2 per cent had perianal abscess, and 40 per cent had both. Primary sites of fistula were: transsphincteric (38%), intersphincteric (33%), superficial (20%), and suprasphincteric (3%), and multiple tracks (6%). Horseshoeing was present in 14 per cent of cases. The most commonly practiced surgical procedures were primary fistulotomy (n = 23) and fistulotomy plus drainage (n = 28). Seven patients underwent fistulotomy and ostomy and eight patients were treated with fistulectomy plus drainage. Most wounds (91%) healed within 8 weeks. Incontinence (6%) and recurrence (7%) were the most commonly observed complications. These results are similar to those seen in the general population. Perianal sepsis can be safely managed in immunocompromised patients, with high rates of healing and low complication rates. An aggressive sphincterpreserving approach in the management of these patients may be undertaken.


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