Large Bowel Perforation in Patients with Colorectal Cancer: A South African Perspective
Introduction: Large bowel perforation (LBP) occurs in up to 10% of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients and is a potential surgical emergency. Data on LBP in CRC patients from resource-limited countries are required to improve the management of this condition in these settings. Our study aimed to describe LBP amongst CRC patients in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Materials and Methods: This was a descriptive sub-analysis of LBP data from an ongoing CRC registry. This study explores free and contained perforations and describes LBP characteristics, surgical management, histological findings, overall survival, and CRC recurrence. Results: Ninety-four out of 2523 CRC patients had LBP (3.7%). The median age was 53.0 years (interquartile range: 43.0–64.0). The male-to-female ratio was 1.4:1. Thirty-three patients (35.1%) had a coexisting bowel obstruction. Tumor site perforations occurred in 87 patients (92.6%) and were mostly in the sigmoid colon (36.2%). Perforations were contained in 77 patients (81.9%). Eighty-nine patients (94.7%) underwent resection (elective resection: 76/89 patients, 85.4%). The post-operative inpatient mortality rate was 2.2%. Most patients had Stage III CRC (46 patients, 48.9%) and moderately differentiated tumors (77 patients, 81.9%). Overall survival at 12 months following CRC diagnosis was 55.4%. The early recurrence rate for CRC disease was 5.4%. Conclusion: Tumor site perforations predominated, and most were contained. Patients were younger when compared with the international literature. We reaffirm that diastatic-free and contained perforations are two distinct clinical entities.
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