Background Management of gastrointestinal perforation by ingested foreign bodies remains a topical subject following technological progress. This work aims to analyze, the epidemiological features, the management in a Tunisian surgical department and to access the most realistic and beneficial management of gastrointestinal perforation by ingested foreign bodies in a low-income country, where there is a paucity of information regarding this subject
Methods This is a retrospective review of 24 patients with gastrointestinal perforation by ingested foreign bodies treated in the General Surgery department of Jendouba Hospital in Tunisia from January 2010 to December 2019.
Results 24 patients with gastrointestinal tract perforation by an ingested foreign body were managed at our surgical ward. The mean age of patients was 56.58 years with extreme ranging 25-72 years with a male to female ratio 2/1. Three patients (12.5%) had psychiatric disorder, one had myasthenia (4.1%), two patients were alcoholics (8.33%), three patients were toothless (12.5%) and two (8.33%) patients were veiled. According to ASA classification, 6 (25%) patients were ASA I, 15 (62.5%) patients ASA II, 3 (12.5%) ASA III. The mean duration of symptoms was 2.16 days and ranges from 1 to 7 days. All patients (100%) presented to the emergency department with acute abdominal pain. Sixteen patients (66.66%) had a fever, twelve (50%) had vomiting and four (16.66%) had a sub-occlusive syndrome. All patients had performed abdominal x-ray. The foreign bodies were objectified in only six cases (25%). CT scan was performed in 16 (66.66%) patients and the location of ingested foreign bodies was obtained in 9 patients preoperatively (37.5%) and in 4 patients (16.66%) after proofreading. All the 24 patients underwent surgery and they were operated during their initial hospital stay. The most common site of perforation was the terminal ileum (62,5%) followed by the duodenum (12, 5%). Enterectomy was the procedure of choice in 20 patients (16 underwent an enterostomy and 4 patients underwent an enteroanastomosis) and four patients had a simple suture. The foreign body was found in all patients. Two patients developed postoperative complications: one case of intraabdominal abscess and one patient had a wound dehiscence . The median length of hospital stay following surgery was 4.08 days (range 2-7 days). The mortality rate was 4.16 %. All patients managed with enterostomy, had their stoma closed after 3-5 months.
Conclusion Open Surgery still remains a management with satisfactory morbidity, mortality and length of hospital stay. However, we estimate that for low/middle-income countries, investing in laparoscopy, for these cases, would be more realistic and more beneficial allowing improving more the outcomes. For this fact, promoting radiologic diagnosis is highly recommended in order to increase prospective identification of the foreign body location and perforation site, allowing a safe laparoscopic approach.