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      Management of postoperative ileus: focus on alvimopan

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          Abstract

          Postoperative ileus (POI) is a transient loss of coordinated peristalsis precipitated by surgery and exacerbated by opioid pain medication. Ileus causes a variety of symptoms including bloating, pain, nausea, and vomiting, but particularly delays tolerance of oral diet and liquids. Thus POI is a primary determinant of hospital stay after surgery. ‘Fast-track’ recovery protocols, opioid sparing analgesia, and laparoscopic surgery reduce but do not eliminate postoperative ileus. Alvimopan is a mu opioid receptor antagonist that blocks the effects of opioids on the intestine, while not interfering with their centrally mediated analgesic effect. Several large randomized clinical trials have demonstrated that alvimopan accelerates the return of gastrointestinal function after surgery and subsequent hospital discharge by approximately 20 hours after elective open segmental colectomy. However, it has not been tested in patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery and is less effective in patients receiving nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents in a narcotic sparing postoperative pain control regimen. Safety concerns seen with chronic low dose administration of alvimopan for opioid bowel dysfunction have not been noted with its acute use for POI.

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          Most cited references 32

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          Laparoscopy-assisted colectomy versus open colectomy for treatment of non-metastatic colon cancer: a randomised trial.

          Although early reports on laparoscopy-assisted colectomy (LAC) in patients with colon cancer suggested that it reduces perioperative morbidity, its influence on long-term results is unknown. Our study aimed to compare efficacy of LAC and open colectomy (OC) for treatment of non-metastatic colon cancer in terms of tumour recurrence and survival. From November, 1993, to July, 1998, all patients with adenocarcinoma of the colon were assessed for entry in this randomised trial. Adjuvant therapy and postoperative follow-up were the same in both groups. The main endpoint was cancer-related survival. Data were analysed according to the intention-to-treat principle. 219 patients took part in the study (111 LAC group, 108 OC group). Patients in the LAC group recovered faster than those in the OC group, with shorter peristalsis-detection (p=0.001) and oral-intake times (p=0.001), and shorter hospital stays (p=0.005). Morbidity was lower in the LAC group (p=0.001), although LAC did not influence perioperative mortality. Probability of cancer-related survival was higher in the LAC group (p=0.02). The Cox model showed that LAC was independently associated with reduced risk of tumour relapse (hazard ratio 0.39, 95% CI 0.19-0.82), death from any cause (0.48, 0.23-1.01), and death from a cancer-related cause (0.38, 0.16-0.91) compared with OC. This superiority of LAC was due to differences in patients with stage III tumours (p=0.04, p=0.02, and p=0.006, respectively). LAC is more effective than OC for treatment of colon cancer in terms of morbidity, hospital stay, tumour recurrence, and cancer-related survival.
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            Surgical manipulation of the gut elicits an intestinal muscularis inflammatory response resulting in postsurgical ileus.

            To investigate the pathophysiologic mechanisms that lead to ileus after abdominal surgery. The common supposition is that more invasive operations are associated with a more extensive ileus. The cellular mechanisms of postsurgical ileus remain elusive, and few studies have addressed the mechanisms. Rats were subjected to incremental degrees of surgical manipulation: laparotomy, eventration, "running," and compression of the bowel. On postsurgical days 1 and 7, muscularis infiltrates were characterized immunohistochemically. Circular muscle activity was assessed using mechanical and intracellular recording techniques in vitro. Surgical manipulation caused an increase in resident phagocytes that stained for the activation marker lymphocyte function-associated antigen (LFA-1). Incremental degrees of manipulation also caused a progressive increase in neutrophil infiltration and a decrease in bethanechol-stimulated contractions. Compression also caused an increase in other leukocytes: macrophages, monocytes, dendritic cells, T cells, natural killer cells, and mast cells. The data support the hypothesis that the degree of gut paralysis to cholinergic stimulation is directly proportional to the degree of trauma, the activation of resident gut muscularis phagocytes, and the extent of cellular infiltration. Therefore, postsurgical ileus may be a result of an inflammatory response to minimal trauma in which the resident macrophages, activated by physical forces, set an inflammatory response into motion, leading to muscle dysfunction.
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              Prospective, randomized, controlled trial between a pathway of controlled rehabilitation with early ambulation and diet and traditional postoperative care after laparotomy and intestinal resection.

              In an era of dwindling hospital resources and increasing medical costs, safe reduction in postoperative stay has become a major focus to optimize utilization of healthcare resources. Although several protocols have been reported to reduce postoperative stay, no Level I evidence exists for their use in routine clinical practice. Sixty-four patients undergoing laparotomy and intestinal or rectal resection were randomly assigned to a pathway of controlled rehabilitation with early ambulation and diet or to traditional postoperative care. Time to discharge from hospital, complication and readmission rates, pain level, quality of life, and patient satisfaction scores were determined at the time of discharge and at 10 and 30 days after surgery. Subgroups were defined to evaluate those who derived the optimal benefit from the protocol. Pathway patients spent less total time in the hospital after surgery (5.4 vs. 7.1 days; P = 0.02) and less time in the hospital during the primary admission than traditional patients. Patients younger than 70 years old had greater benefits than the overall study group (5 vs. 7.1 days; P = 0.01). Patients treated by surgeons with the most experience with the pathway spent significantly less time in the hospital than did those whose surgeons were less experienced with the pathway (P = 0.01). There was no difference between pathway and traditional patients for readmission or complication rates, pain score, quality of life after surgery, or overall satisfaction with the hospital stay. Patients scheduled for a laparotomy and major intestinal or rectal resection are suitable for management by a pathway of controlled rehabilitation with early ambulation and diet. Pathway patients have a shorter hospital stay, with no adverse effect on patient satisfaction, pain scores, or complication rates. Patients younger than 70 years of age derive the optimal benefit, and increased surgeon experience improves outcome.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-6336
                1178-203X
                October 2008
                October 2008
                : 4
                : 5
                : 965-973
                Affiliations
                Division of Colorectal Surgery, Department of Surgery, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Case Western, Reserve School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Eric Marderstein 11100 Euclid Avenue, Lakeside 7th Floor, Cleveland, OH 44124, USA, Tel +1 216 844 7120, Fax +1 216 844 5957, Email eric.marderstein@ 123456uhhospitals.org
                Article
                tcrm-4-965
                2621409
                19209278
                © 2008 Dove Medical Press Limited. All rights reserved
                Categories
                Review

                Medicine

                gastrointestinal surgery, alvimopan, postoperative ileus

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