Article Text

Gastrointestinal surgery in adult patients with cystic fibrosis
  1. Abhiram Sharma1,2,
  2. Alison Morton3,
  3. Daniel Peckham3,
  4. David Jayne1
  1. 1John Goligher Department of Colorectal Surgery, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Leeds, UK
  2. 2Department of Colorectal Surgery, University Hospital of South Manchester, Manchester, UK
  3. 3Department of Cystic Fibrosis, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Leeds, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Abhiram Sharma, Department of Colorectal Surgery, University Hospital of South Manchester, Manchester, UK; abhisurgery{at}


Objective Gastrointestinal conditions requiring surgical intervention are becoming increasingly frequent in adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) as life expectancy increases. In addition, patients with CF are at risk of specific gastrointestinal complications associated with their disease. This includes distal intestinal obstruction syndrome (DIOS), which may affect up to 15% of patients, and can present diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. The aim of this study was to determine the nature and frequency of general surgical procedures undertaken in a large cohort of adult CF patients so as to guide future care.

Design The medical records of all surviving adult CF patients followed at a large tertiary referral centre in the UK were scrutinised and details retrieved on those who had undergone abdominal surgery after the age of 16 years.

Results A total of 377 patients with CF were identified from the prospectively held database. Thirty-three patients had undergone 43 abdominal operations. The median age at surgery was 22.7 years (range 16–58 years). The three most commonly performed operations were: surgery for DIOS (n=9); cholecystectomy (n=8) and fundoplication (n=6). A past history of surgically treated meconium ileus at birth was a significant risk factor for requiring surgery for DIOS as an adult.

Conclusions The treatment of DIOS-related complications is one of the main reasons for abdominal surgery in the adult CF population. The general surgical community needs to be increasingly aware of the existence of disease-related gastrointestinal conditions in adult CF patients so that treatment can be optimised.


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