Abdominal surgery in neutropenic patients

Jolissaint JS, et al. Timing and Outcomes of Abdominal Surgery in Neutropenic Patients. J Gastrointest Surg. 2019 Apr;23(4):643-650.

Full-text for Emory users.

Results: Amongst 237 patients, mortality was 11.8% (28/237) and morbidity 54.5% (130/237). Absolute neutrophil count < 500 cells/μL (50% vs. 20.6%, P < 0.01) and perforated viscus (35.7% vs. 14.8%, P = 0.01) were associated with mortality. Perforated viscus (25.4% vs. 7.5%) was also associated with morbidity. Urgent operations were associated with higher morbidity (63.6% vs 34.7%, P < 0.001) and mortality (16.4% vs 1.4%, P = 0.002) when compared to elective operations. Transfer from an outside hospital (22.3% vs. 11.2%, P = 0.02) and longer median time from admission to operation (2 days (IQR 0-6) vs. 1 day (IQR 0-3), P < 0.01) were associated with morbidity. An ANC threshold of 350 provided the best discrimination for mortality.

Conclusions: Elective surgery in the appropriately chosen neutropenic patient is relatively safe. For patients with obvious surgical pathology, we advocate for earlier operation and a lower threshold for surgical consultation in an effort expedite the diagnosis and necessary treatment.


Chirletti P, et al. The surgical choice in neutropenic patients with hematological disorders and acute abdominal complications. Leuk Lymphoma. 1993 Feb;9(3):237-41.

Full-text for Emory users.

The clinical course of patients with hematological disease, especially after treatment, is often complicated by gastrointestinal infections. Between 1986 and 1990 a total of 18 patients affected with hematologic disease and presenting with an acute abdomen were admitted to the surgery department at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. Most patients were affected with acute or chronic myeloid leukemia (61%) and lymphoma. Five patients with acute appendicitis, three with necrotizing enterocolitis, three with spontaneous hemoperitoneum, three with cholecystitis, two splenic infarctions and two intestinal occlusions were diagnosed. Symptoms were often vague and non specific and blood counts revealed neutropenia in all but two patients, while anemia was characteristic in spontaneous hemoperitoneum and in neutropenic enterocolitis. Fungemia occurred in only two cases while bacteremia was present in seven. The most critical patients were those affected by neutropenic enterocolitis and acute cholecystitis. Sonography was meaningful in the diagnosis of hemoperitoneum, splenic infarct and acute cholecystitis. All patients underwent surgical procedures within 48 hours of admission to the department. In all cases peritoneal washing was performed and at least one peritoneal drainage was left. In all cases of necrotizing enterocolitis, intestinal resections, either ileal or colonic, were followed by an immediate anastomosis in two layers. Intensive hematological and antibiotic post surgical care was performed in all patients. Seven patients presented minor complications (38.8%), and only one died (5.5%). Emergency surgical treatment may be safely carried out in patients with hematological diseases presenting with an acute abdomen. Intensive postsurgical care is mandatory for the recovery of patients and the patient’s critical condition should not be a deterrent to surgical intervention.

More PubMed results on surgical management of neutropenic patients.

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