Procalcitonin and C-reactive protein as early markers of anastomotic leak after laparoscopic colorectal surgery within an enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) program.

Surg Endosc 2018 09 8;32(9):4003-4010. Epub 2018 Mar 8.

Department of Surgery, General University Hospital Elche, Alicante, Spain.

Background: C-reactive protein (CRP) and procalcitonin (PCT) have been described as good predictors of anastomotic leak after colorectal surgery, obtaining the highest diagnostic accuracy on the 5th postoperative day. However, if an enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) program is performed, early predictors are needed in order to ensure a safe and early discharge. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of CRP, PCT, and white blood cell (WBC) count determined on first postoperative days, in predicting septic complications, especially anastomotic leak, after laparoscopic colorectal surgery performed within an ERAS program.

Methods: We conducted a prospective study including 134 patients who underwent laparoscopic colorectal surgery within an ERAS program between 2015 and 2017. The primary endpoint investigated was anastomotic leak. CRP, PCT, and WBC count were determined in the blood sample extracted on postoperative day 1 (POD 1), POD 2 and POD 3.

Results: Anastomotic leak (AL) was detected in 6 patients (4.5%). Serum levels of CRP and PCT, but not WBC, determined on POD 1, POD 2, and POD 3 were significantly higher in patients who had AL in the postoperative course. Using ROC analysis, the best AUC of the CRP and PCT levels was on POD 3 (0.837 and 0.947, respectively). A CRP cutoff level at 163 mg/l yielded 85% sensitivity, 80% specificity, and 99% negative predictive value (NPV). A PCT cutoff level at 2.5 ng/ml achieved 85% sensitivity, 95% specificity, 44% positive predictive value, and 99% NPV.

Conclusions: CRP and PCT are relevant markers for detecting postoperative AL after laparoscopic colorectal surgery. Furthermore, they can ensure an early discharge with a low probability of AL when an ERAS program is performed.

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