Complications of Fistulas

Colocutaneous fistulas create significant morbidity.

• Fluid and electrolyte imbalance due to loss of intestinal contents

• Bacterial contamination of usually sterile areas can result in peritonitis and sepsis

• Bypass of a variable length of the intestine leads to a loss of functional intestine and impaired digestion and absorption

• Wound infection

• Skin excoriation by digestive enzymes

The extent of these problems is governed by level, location and magnitude of the fistula. In addition to these, there will always be problems due to underlying disease and comorbidity. The problems are maximum with small intestinal fistula a minimum with left colonic fistula.

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