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AIM: Our aim was to determine the frequency and economic impact of anastomotic leakage (AL) at local and national levels in England. METHOD: All patients who underwent AR in Oxford between 2007 and 2009 were evaluated for AL. Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data were used to determine reoperation rates after elective AR (n = 23 388) in England between 2000 and 2008. Hospital episode remuneration costs were calculated by the local commissioning department and compared with Department of Health (DH) reference index costs. RESULTS: The frequency of AL following anterior resection was 10.9% (31 out of 285) in Oxford. Laparotomy for leakage was performed in 5.6% of cases. The 30-day hospital mortality rate for all ARs was 2.1%, compared with 3.2% after AL. The national relaparotomy rate (within 28 days) and 30-day hospital mortality in English National Health Service (NHS) trusts following AR were 5.9% and 2.9%, respectively. Institutional remunerated tariffs (£6233 (SD ± 965)) were similar to DH reference costs (£6319 (SD ± 1830)) after uncomplicated AR. However, there was a significant (P = 0.008) discrepancy between the remunerated tariff for AL (£9605 (SD ± 6908)) and the actual cost (£17 220 (SD ± 9642)). AL resulted in an additional annual cost of approximately £1.1 million to £3.5 million when extrapolated nationally. CONCLUSION: The estimated economic burden of anastomotic leakage following AR is approximately double that of the remunerated tariff.

Original publication




Journal article


Colorectal Dis

Publication Date





e190 - e198


Adenocarcinoma, Adenoma, Aged, Anastomotic Leak, England, Enterostomy, Female, Hospital Costs, Hospital Mortality, Humans, Insurance, Health, Reimbursement, Male, Middle Aged, Rectal Neoplasms, Reoperation, State Medicine