Management of digestive tract fistulas. A review

Massimo Falconi, N. Sartori, E. Caldiron, R. Salvia, C. Bassi, P. Pederzoli

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Digestive tract fistulas are a complex subject in terms both of classification and management. There is still a lack of firm epidemiological data regarding the their incidence, though the prognostic factors conditioning the prognosis of these patients are now well known. They are related mainly to the nutritional status of the patients and to the presence or otherwise of sepsis. Instrumental investigations should be aimed not merely at identifying the complication, but also at guiding clinicians in their choice of therapeutic management. According to the various situations arising, the treatment will be surgical, endoscopic or conservative medical. In the latter case, the clinician should establish first of all whether, as a result of the site of the fistula or the nutritional status, the patient requires total parenteral or enteral artificial nutrition, whenever possible. In those cases in which parenteral nutrition is indicated, the ideal drug with the best proven ability to shorten healing times and reduce the number of complications when used in combination with parenteral nutrition is naturally occurring somatostatin at the dose of 250 μg/h over 24 h. In all other cases, if the fistula is clinically important, its synthetic analogue, octreotide, should be the drug of choice and can be administered subcutaneously. The amount of octreotide administered ranges from 300 to 600 μg/day in 3 or 4 daily doses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1999


  • Enterocutaneous fistulas
  • Octreotide
  • Somatostatin
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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