OUTCOMES FOR ENTRAPMENT COLIC SURGERY STUDIED
The prognosis for horses who have surgery for a specific type of strangulation colic is guarded at best, according to a new study from Belgium.
Researchers at Ghent University reviewed the records of 142 horses who underwent surgery to correct epiploic foramen entrapment (EFE), a type of colic that occurs when a section of small intestine becomes trapped between the liver and the pancreas.
That data revealed that 74 percent of the horses survived surgery, and 65 percent of those recovered well enough to be discharged. The overall survival-to-discharge rate was 48 percent. The median survival time after discharge was 3,193 days, a little longer than eight-and-a half years.
Horses with postoperative reflux (overfilling of the stomach caused by slow gut motility or mechanical obstruction of the small intestine after small intestinal surgery) were less likely to survive to be discharged.
Also, horses who had portions of their intestines removed had a shorter life expectancy after discharge than did those who did not undergo resection. Three percent of surviving horses had a recurrence of the entrapment.
In light of these findings, researchers conclude that “owners of horses with EFE should be informed of the guarded prognosis associated with current surgical treatment. Meticulous surgical technique to avoid postoperative reflux development combined with preventive closure of the hole between the liver and the pancreas, thus avoiding recurrence, could possibly contribute to better results in the future.”
Reference: “Surgical treatment of epiploic foramen entrapment in 142 horses (2008-2016),” Veterinary Surgery, January 2019