• S H Waqar
  • Zafar Iqbal Malik
  • Asma Razzaq
  • M Tariq Abdullah
  • Aliya Shaima
  • M A Zahid


Background: Wound dehiscence/burst abdomen is a very serious postoperative complicationassociated with high morbidity and mortality. It has significant impact on health care cost, both forthe patients and hospitals. The aim of the study was to determine the frequency of wounddehiscence/burst abdomen in patients undergoing emergency and elective laparotomies throughmidline incisions and to identify the risk factors for wound dehiscence. Methods: This study wascarried out at department of General Surgery, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Islamabadfrom 1st January 2002 to 31st December 2002. 117 consecutive patients undergoing laparotomy withmidline incision were included. They were followed by wound examination from third postoperative day onwards to see their normal or otherwise healing. Results: Seven out of 117 (5.9%)patients developed wound dehiscence. Five of them (4.2%) were operated in emergency and two(1.7%) were operated on elective list. Conclusion: It is very clear from our study that frequency ofwound dehiscence/burst abdomen is still very high in our hospital. Peritonitis, wound infection andfailure to close the abdominal wall properly are most important causes of wound dehiscence.Malnourishment and malignant obstructive jaundice predispose a patient to wound dehiscence byslowing the healing, and increasing rate of wound infection.Key words: Burst Abdomen, Wound Dehiscence, Laparotomy.


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