Clinical audit: recent practice in caring for patients with acute severe colitis compared with published guidelines - is there a problem?

A Lim, R Grafton, D Hetzel, J Andrews

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    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Acute severe colitis (ASC) is a serious condition with possible outcomes of emergency colectomy and mortality. Validated guidelines exist to help avoid these. Aims: To examine local adherence to guidelines and identify (a) opportunities to improve care and (b) possible barriers to adherence. Methods: Retrospective, hospital-wide audit of all patients with ASC during a 2-year period (2009-2010) at a major metropolitan hospital. Cases were identified by an electronic search of all discharges with International Classification of Diseases-10 codes for colitis, colectomy, ulcerative colitis or Crohn disease. Results: Twenty-six patients had 30 ASC admissions (14 female). Most admissions were under gastroenterology (25), 4 (13%) were under general medicine and 1 was under general surgery. Only 8 patients' (26%) management (all under gastroenterology) included all major details: blood investigations, Clostridium difficile test, abdominal X-ray, colonic examination and venous thromboembolism prophylaxis. Only one patient had formal severity scoring on admission, and seven patients (24%) had descriptive severity recorded. On day 3, nine patients (30%) had some recorded severity assessment; however, no formal criteria were used. Four had colectomy, three during first admission and one on re-admission. Of these patients, three received cyclosporine prior to colectomy. The mean duration of admission was 10 days (standard deviation 10.54, range 1-61). Conclusion: Opportunities to optimise care exist including formal severity assessments on days 1 and 3, better deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism prophylaxis and prompt colonic examination. Admission under teams other than gastroenterology appeared to be a barrier to better care. Despite the low rate of ideal management, the colectomy rate was acceptably low at 20%.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)803-809
    Number of pages7
    JournalInternal Medicine Journal
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


    • Colectomy
    • Colitis
    • Cyclosporine
    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Ulcerative


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