BACKGROUND: Vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) has, in many instances, become the treatment of choice in patients with abdominal catastrophes. This study describes the use and outcome of ABThera KCI® VAC in the Region Southern Denmark covering a population of approximately 1.202 mill inhabitants.
METHOD: A prospective multicenter study including all patients treated with VAC during an eleven-month period.
RESULTS: A total of 74 consecutive patients were included. Median age was 64.4 (9-89) years, 64% were men, and median body mass index was 25 (17-42). Duration of VAC treatment was median 4.5 (0-39) days with median 1 (0-16) dressing changes. Seventy per cent of the patients attended the intensive care unit. The 90-day mortality was 15%. A secondary closure of the fascia was obtained in 84% of the surviving patients. Only one patient developed an enteroatmospheric fistula. Patients with secondary closure were less likely to develop large hernias and had better self-evaluated physical health score (p < 0,05). No difference in mental health was found.
CONCLUSION: The abdominal VAC treatment in patients with abdominal catastrophes is safe and with a relative low complication rate. Whether it might be superior to conventional treatment with primary closure when possible has yet to be proven in a randomized study.