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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 339-343

Retained intra-abdominal artery forceps - An unusual cause of intestinal strangulation

Department of Surgery, Enugu State University of Science and Technology Teaching Hospital, Parklane, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Anthony Ikemefuna Ugochukwu
Department of Surgery, Enugu State University of Science and Technology Teaching Hospital (ESUTTH), Parklane, Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Context: Surgical instruments and materials continue to be retained in the peritoneal cavity despite precautionary measures. Even though uncommon it is also under-reported and carries serious medico-legal consequences. Gauzes and sponges (gossypiboma) are the most commonly retained materials and intra-abdominal retained artery forceps are much rarer but when they do occur lead to chronic abdominal pain and can be a rare cause of intestinal obstruction or strangulation with significant morbidity and mortality. Case Report: We present a case of intraabdominal retained artery forceps in a 70-years-old lady who underwent laparotomy with splenectomy for a large spleen in a peripheral hospital. Upon discharge she continued to complain of intermittent abdominal pain of increasing severity. 12 months later she presented to us with an acute (surgical) abdomen requiring another laparotomy. At laparotomy she had strangulated/gangrenous lower jejunual and upper ileal bowel loops, the small bowel mesentery of this area being tightly trapped between the jaws of the retained artery forceps. She had gut resection and enteroanastomosis. Unfortunately she died from continuing sepsis on the second post-operative day. Conclusion: Retained instruments in intra-abdominal surgery can cause serious complication and should be treated surgically. High index of suspicion and appropriate investigations like plain abdominal X-ray, abdominal ultrasound and CT and MRI scans should be instituted in patients who develop chronic abdominal symptoms following laparotomy. Preventive measures against retained instruments must follow strict laid down protocols for surgical instruments handling in theatre.

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