OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a severe mesenteric traction syndrome (MTS) leads to increased surgical stress, endothelial dysfunction, and postoperative morbidity in a cohort in which all patients received a single dose of methylprednisolone.
INTRODUCTION: Preoperatively administered corticosteroids lower the incidence of severe MTS and may also attenuate surgical stress and endothelial damage associated with the development of severe MTS, ultimately lowering the postoperative morbidity.
METHODS: This exploratory study analyzed prospectively collected data from 45 patients all receiving 125 mg methylprednisolone. No control group was included. The severity of MTS was graded intraoperatively, and postoperative morbidity was assessed blinded. Blood samples for plasma prostacyclin (PGI2), IL6 and endothelial damage (Syndecan-1, sVEGRF1 and sThrombomodulin) biomarkers were obtained at predefined time points.
RESULTS: Patients undergoing either open liver surgery (n = 23) or Whipple's procedure (n = 22) were included. No differences were found in postoperative morbidity between patients developing and not developing severe MTS. Surgery led to significantly increased plasma levels of biomarkers indicative of surgical stress and endothelial damage. Further, patients developing severe MTS had increased levels of PGI2 (p = 0.05) and lower systemic vascular resistance (p < 0.05) 15 min into surgery. However, when comparing the biomarkers of surgical stress, endothelial damage no differences between patients with and without severe MTS were identified.
CONCLUSION: This exploratory study found that surgery was associated with a pro-inflammatory response and damage to the endothelium. However, no differences were found between patients developing severe MTS and patients developing moderate/no MTS in biomarkers of surgical stress, endothelial damage, or postoperative morbidity. Corticosteroids may therefore attenuate the endothelial damage in patients developing severe MTS. However, as this was an exploratory study, these findings must be confirmed in future randomized controlled studies.