Management of fistulae in patients with open abdomen
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Management of fistulae in patients with open abdomen

Kristine Curtis Nutrition nurse specialist currently on a career break and freelance writer, Edinburgh
Karen Judson Deputy sister, Clinical Nutrition Unit, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham

Intestinal fistulae formation in the open abdomen is a rare, but devastating and complex complication for patients. Often, there will be no spontaneous healing or closure of the fistulae. Effective wound care is essential to contain fistulae effluent, protect surrounding tissue and skin, and promote granulation, and patient comfort and mobility. Management options include the use of wound management pouches and negative pressure wound therapy. Effective wound care needs to be underpinned by adequate nutrition, and fluid and electrolyte management. Despite the challenges involved in providing effective care for these patients, this aspect of nursing practice can be extremely rewarding.

Nursing Standard. 28, 25, 56-64. doi: 10.7748/ns2014.

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Received: 27 June 2013

Accepted: 30 October 2013