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Proof-of-concept for intervention to prevent post-operative ileus in patients undergoing ileostomy formation.



Preventing post-operative ileus (POI) is important given its associated morbidity and increased cost of care. The authors' prior work showed that POI in patients with newly created ileostomies is associated with a post-operative day (POD) 2 net fluid balance of > + 800 mL. The purpose of this study was to conduct an initial assessment of the efficacy of a pilot intervention.


This is a single-institution, pre-post-intervention, proof-of-concept study conducted on the Colorectal Surgery service at the University of California, San Francisco. The study included 58 procedures with ileostomy formation by board-certified colorectal surgeons between August 13, 2020 and June 1, 2021. The intervention included three adjustments to the standard Enhanced Recovery After Surgery protocol: addition of diuresis, delay in advancement to solid food, and earlier stoma intubation. Demographics, intraoperative factors, post-operative fluid balance, and outcomes (POI, post-procedure length of stay [LOS], hospitalization cost, and re-admissions) were compared between patients pre- and post-intervention.


Eight (13.8%) of the 58 procedures in the intervention period were associated with POI vs. a baseline POI rate of 32.6% (p = 0.004). Compared to patients without intervention, those with intervention had 67% less odds of POI (OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.15-0.73, p = 0.01). This difference remained significant when adjusted for age, gender, body mass index, procedure duration, and operative approach (adjusted OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.14-0.72, p = 0.01). Average POD2 stoma output was 0.3 L greater (1.1 L vs. 0.8L; p < 0.001) and net fluid balance was 1.8 L lower (+ 0.3 L vs. + 2.1 L; p < 0.00001) for these 58 cases. Average post-procedure LOS was 1.9 days lower (5.3 vs. 7.2 days, p < 0.001) and direct cost was $5561 lower ($21,652 vs. $27,213, p = 0.004), with no difference in 30-day readmissions (p = 0.43).


This pilot intervention shows promise for reduction in POI in patients with newly created ileostomies. Additional assessment is needed to confirm these initial findings.

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