Research Article

Clinical importance of enteric communication with abdominal abscesses.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985; 290 doi: (Published 05 January 1985) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;290:23
  1. S H Saverymuttu,
  2. A M Peters,
  3. J P Lavender


    The dynamics of leucocytes in abdominal abscesses were studied using indium-111 autologous leucocyte scanning in 30 patients. Thirteen patients showing enteric drainage of leucocytes on delayed scans were characterised by a lack of abdominal localising signs and a low detection rate by ultrasound (25%). By contrast, 16 of 17 patients without enteric drainage had abdominal signs, and in these patients ultrasound was associated with a higher detection rate (58%). Despite the presence of an enteric route of drainage for the abscess 10 of the 13 patients needed surgical intervention. These results help explain the wide variation in clinical presentation of abdominal abscesses; suggest that 111In leucocyte scanning should be the initial investigation in those patients without focal signs; and show that formal surgical drainage is needed in patients recognised as having enteric communication with abscesses.