Impact of anaemia at discharge following colorectal cancer surgery

Colorectal Cancer

Dru RC, et al. Int J Colorectal Dis 2020.


OBJECTIVES: Preoperative anaemia is common in patients with colorectal cancer and increasingly optimised prior to surgery. Comparably little attention is given to the prevalence and consequences of postoperative anaemia. We aimed to investigate the frequency and short- or long-term impact of anaemia at discharge following colorectal cancer resection.

METHODS: A dedicated, prospectively populated database of elective laparoscopic colorectal cancer procedures undertaken with curative intent within a fully implemented ERAS protocol was utilised. The primary endpoint was anaemia at time of discharge (haemoglobin (Hb) < 120 g/L for women and < 135 g/L for men). Patient demographics, tumour characteristics, operative details and postoperative outcomes were captured. Median follow-up was 61 months with overall survival calculated with the Kaplan-Meier log rank method and Cox proportional hazard regression based on anaemia at time of hospital discharge.

RESULTS: A total of 532 patients with median 61-month follow-up were included. 46.4% were anaemic preoperatively (cohort mean Hb 129.4 g/L ± 18.7). Median surgical blood loss was 100 mL (IQR 0-200 mL). Upon discharge, most patients were anaemic (76.6%, Hb 116.3 g/L ± 14, mean 19 g/L ± 11 below lower limit of normal, p < 0.001). 16.7% experienced postoperative complications which were associated with lower discharge Hb (112 g/L ± 12 vs. 117 g/L ± 14, p = 0.001). Patients discharged anaemic had longer hospital stays (7 [5-11] vs. 6 [5-8], p = 0.037). Anaemia at discharge was independently associated with reduced overall survival (82% vs. 70%, p = 0.018; HR 1.6 (95% CI 1.04-2.5), p = 0.034).

CONCLUSION: Anaemia at time of discharge following elective laparoscopic colorectal cancer surgery and ERAS care is common with associated negative impacts upon short-term clinical outcomes and long-term overall survival.