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Cell-free deoxyribonucleic acid as a prognostic marker of bowel ischemia in patients with small bowel obstruction.

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Published:1st Nov 2017
Author: Netz U, Perry Z, Mizrahi S, Kirshtein B, Czeiger D, Sebbag G et al.
Source: Surgery
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Ref.:Surgery. 2017;162(5):1063-1070.

Background: Patients with strangulation small bowel obstruction are at a high risk for serious morbidity and mortality due to ischemic bowel. Measuring serum, cell-free deoxyribonucleic acid levels could help recognize early cell death. Our hypothesis was that small bowel ischemia or necrosis is associated with increases in serum cell-free deoxyribonucleic acid and that recovery is associated with a decrease in cell-free deoxyribonucleic acid levels.

Methods: A prospective cohort study in addition to standard treatment of patients admitted with a diagnosis of small bowel obstruction. The participants were divided into groups depending on the presence of ischemic or necrotic bowel according to operative and clinical outcome. Clinical data and serum-based cell-free deoxyribonucleic acid levels were compared. Cell-free deoxyribonucleic acid levels from these 2 groups also were compared with a third group of healthy controls.

Results: In the study, 58 patients were enrolled, and 18 patients (31%) underwent operation. During the operative procedure, ischemic or necrotic bowel was found in 10 cases (17%). Serum levels of cell-free deoxyribonucleic acid at the time of admission in the ischemic/necrotic bowel group were increased compared with patients with well perfused or spontaneously recovered bowel (P = .03). Cell-free deoxyribonucleic acid levels decreased on the day after admission in 88% of the nonoperated patients. No significant differences were found in demographics, medical background, imaging performed, and cause of obstruction nor in clinical admission data.

Conclusion: Surgeons currently rely on imprecise clinical parameters, including degree of pain, abdominal tenderness, leukocytosis etc to decide when operative intervention is needed. The association of cell-free deoxyribonucleic acid with small bowel obstruction, ischemia, and recovery supports our hypothesis and suggests that this biomarker is a potential surrogate of small bowel perfusion.


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