INTRODUCTION: Acute diverticulitis with colon perforation is a serious condition in transplant recipients. The aim of this study was to analyze our experience with colon perforations among 875 renal transplant recipients between January 1986 and September 2004. METHODS: Patients were analyzed by age, gender, steroid dosage, time interval from the transplantation, delay between symptoms and surgery, clinical presentation, surgical procedure, graft and patient outcomes. RESULTS: We identified 8 patients with colon perforation. The incidence of perforation was 0.9%. Mean age at the the time of perforation was 58.5 years. Fever, abdominal pain, localized or diffuse signs of peritonitis, and leukocytosis were present in 7 patients (87.5%). Three patients (37.5%) were on steroid-free immunosuppression, whereas in 2 cases (25%) the steroid dosage was >20 mg/d. The mean interval between transplantation and perforation was 4.1 years. Two episodes (25%) occurred within 1 month following transplantation and the other 6 (75%) between 1 and 15 years. The interval between the onset of symptoms and surgery was longer than 48 hours in 1 patient (12.5%). In 5 cases (62.5%), a Hartmann procedure was performed; in 2 patients (25%), a resection with primary anastomosis was preferred. The last patient had a direct suture of the colon. Mortality rate was 12.5%. At a median follow-up of 6.1 years, 6 patients (75%) are alive with 5 functioning grafts. CONCLUSIONS: Colon perforations in renal transplant recipients remain a challenging surgical problem. An aggressive diagnostic attitude and an immediate surgical treatment may contribute to significantly decrease the incidence and the mortality of this complication
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